Stan Against Evil is the new horror comedy on the IFC channel. It’s about a small-town, crusty, slightly sexist sheriff, Steve Miller, who is forced into retirement and is replaced with the young female sheriff, Evie Barret. Apparently, during the witch trials, the sheriff at that time was involved in burning 172 falsely accused witches and whoever is sheriff of the town is cursed to die at their hands.
It’s a fairly complicated plot, actually, and the TV show gives it very little screen time and no in-depth explanation. In fact, even the election of the new sheriff is actually shown through newspaper headlines. This makes the show feel very rushed. Witches burned at the stake, who come back to life? EH… who needs to actually see the backstory to THAT! The show feels like someone took The Evil Dead and turned it into a ’90s low-budget TV series (instead of the superior series on Starz now). Not only are the special FX very weak, but they make the entire production look half “assed,” for lack of a better term. The writing is lazy, with the best part of the show being irrelevant sexist jokes that stopped being funny in 1996.
John C. McGinley, who is normally brilliant in bringing funny characters to the small screen, seems unable to bring Stan’s character to life. His attempts don’t go unnoticed, but there really is only so much he can do with such abysmal writing. I’m also not sure about Stan’s daughter, at all. This character comes across so odd that I assumed she suffered from some kind of mental affection. I make that statement in all seriousness. I assumed she was his adult daughter, who, perhaps, has a social-anxiety problem. This is not the case, though. Nope, her character is just odd and what’s worse, the writers don’t seem to notice it.
Basically, if you really love Ash vs. Evil Dead, you might enjoy watching Stan Against Evil, but be forewarned that it is absolutely a low-budget knock off. I almost feel as if the creators didn’t even try to hide this fact. Even the name is similar. It’s watchable, but unless the show ups its game, I somehow doubt even the biggest horror-comedy fans will regularly tune in. The fact is the show is a very obvious work in progress. The creators can either try and find something to fill the very noticeable void that is in the show or they can live (and probably not for long) in the very tall shadows of Ash vs. Evil Dead.
I almost hate to give the show such a poor review, as I do think there is hope for the series. This is a show that has decided to base everything on comedic timing and writing. Currently, the writers are obviously unsure which way to go with the series… hopefully after a few episodes, they will find their footing and improve. I give Stan Against Evil two stars for being unable to hold my attention.
Stan Against Evil airs on IFC, check your listings for times.