The plot of the show follows the plot of the movie both closely and loosely, so let me explain. Instead of cramming the story into 2 hours, it is slowly spun over 10 episodes, allowing for much more creative flair and backstory, and also for some serious diversions and offshoots from the original plot.
The story begins with the infamous Gecko brothers, Seth (D.J. Cotrona) and Richie (Zane Holtz) having robbed a bank in Abilene and taken a teller hostage. As they are making their escape to Mexico to meet up with Carlos (Wilmer Valderrama, That 70's Show), who has helped orchestrate the robbery for a sizable cut, they detour to a small liquor store and make some tremendous mistakes which will continue to haunt them for the entire season. It is pretty clear early on that Seth is the level-headed brother, while Richie is becoming more and more unhinged as each moment passes. Richie is not only responsible for a few deaths connected with the robbery, but he is seeing things and acting strangely. While the criminals are inside, the liquor store is visited by two Texas Rangers, Earl McGraw (the totally bad-assed Don Johnson) and his young protégé, Freddie Gonzalez (Jesse Garcia), and the explosive events that take place will set the stage for the rest of the season with Ranger Gonzalez vowing to bring about the death of the brothers.
Before long, the murderous pair run across the Fuller family traveling to Mexico in an old RV. Father Jacob Fuller (Robert Patrick) is a recent widow and also the pastor of a church, while his teen-aged daughter Kate (Madison Davenport) is confused by this recent decision to pack up and head to Mexico. Finally, there's younger adopted brother Scott (Brandon Soo Hoo) who is just excited about the trip. When the family gets inadvertently tangled up with the Geckos at a cheap motel, the brothers see a way to safely slide into Mexico without detection using the family as a cover. Oddly, all along Richie is being drawn to Mexico by visions of a beautiful woman, Santanica Pandemonium (Eiza Gonzalez), whom they will eventually find when they stop at a bar across the Mexican border called The Titty Twister, run by Carlos.
While the police are hot on the Gecko brothers' trail, so is Ranger Gonzalez and his vengeance doesn't stop at the border. Prior to the altercation with the Geckos, McGraw and Gonzalez were tracking a serial killer in Texas who ritualistically cuts out his victims' eyes and disembowels them. Gonzalez consults with a professor of Archaeology named Aiden Tanner (Jake Busey) who suspects the killer may be a part of an ancient Mayan/Aztec blood cult. As Gonzalez detours from his primary task to follow the Geckos, he discovers that perhaps he isn't too far off course from his original task. It seems all roads for our characters lead to The Twister and once they are there, all hell breaks loose. Who knew Mexico was infested with its own brand of vampires? As the story unfolds, it will become very clear that no one is safe and that they just might have to work together to survive the night.
While that sounds like the basic premise of the film, the serial killer storyline is new, along with Richie's crazy visions. They also switched a few characters around in that the crazy bouncer at The Twister isn't Sex Machine and instead, that pseudonym is taken on by a different character. The storytelling is also different in that there's a lot of playing around with time. You'll see current events, events surrounding the bank robbery, childhood events and so on to explain what is happening, why it is happening and why the characters are the way they are. It's been years since I've seen the film and to be honest, I don't remember who survives and who doesn't, but I preferred not remembering and enjoying the show as it revealed itself, episode by episode.
D.J. Cotrona perfectly captures the character of Seth Gecko as originally played by George Clooney; he's just great. Then you've got Zane Holtz as Richie and he is completely brilliant. I was never fond of Quentin Tarantino as Richie, but there's a spark of decency in Richie as played by Zane. Sure, he is batsh*t crazy, but it's not all his fault. He's also pretty hot, despite the insanity and all. Robert Patrick is also fantastic and often reminded me of Harvey Keitel, while Madison Davenport's portrayal of Kate is of a very likable and good person, whereas Juliette Lewis was not at all. Wilmer Valderrama completely sheds any semblance of his old role as Fez and he is a real bastard, but one with a compelling backstory. Jesse Garcia as the vengeance-driven Ranger Gonzales does a spectacular and believable job, and it was fun to see Don Johnson in such a great role. I enjoyed Jake Busey as Aiden Tanner as I haven't seen him in much. He's got a little bit of that "Busey crazy" in him for sure. Truly, everyone is good in their roles. I will say that Eiza Gonzalez as Santanica kind of got on my nerves. She seemed to enunciate every word to accentuate her enormous lips and it was just annoying at times. Sure, she is beautiful, but her lips got in the way after a while.
There are a ton of special features included, although most are between 2 and 5 minutes long and look like teaser promos from the El Rey Network. Still, they are fun to watch, for the most part. There's also commentary by Rodriguez and crew on many episodes, an interesting making-of, plus a fun Q&A from the show's live premiere at Alamo Drafthouse.
Overall, if you enjoyed the movie, you will like the series. The over-the-top, gratuitous blood and violence are a Rodriguez staple and look and sound great on Blu-ray. It is fun to revisit The Twister so many years later, and with a lot of the original production crew on board, it looks authentic, yet better than ever. I'm interested to see where the series will go in the coming seasons since they pretty much concluded the first film in From Dusk Till Dawn: Season One, but I did enjoy the show and do recommend it to fans of the original movie, as well as fans of Rodriguez's work.