Army of Darkness Review
Written by: metalblade70
Sam Raimi's "official" third installment of the Evil Dead legacy is arguably the best of the three. I say arguably because as much as I love the film, it doesn't quite match the style of Raimi's previous two features in the series.
It is by far the most ambitious of the three, and Bruce Campbell once again proves that he is the most overlooked and underrated actor in America today. But after the one-man show that was Evil Dead 2, Raimi seemingly relegates Campbell to the passenger seat in a miasma of special effects.
It's not a bad thing by any means, as the film still keeps Campbell as the main focal point, but it's just that after his star turn in Evil Dead 2, he looks a little overwhelmed by the whole scenario of being cast back in time to medieval days. And who wouldn't be?
Maybe Raimi bit off a tiny bit more than he could chew. A few minor gripes out of the way then. Kicking in more or less where 2 left off, Campbell's Ash is at first regarded as being a servant of the devil, and accused of working against his captors. But after proving himself in an epic battle with a demon of the underworld, he is revered as the saviour and chosen one by the medieval elders.
What ensues is nothing short of side-splitting in terms of comedy ingenuity and self-parody, as Ash seeks to find a way back to his own time, unwittingly unleashing an army of the undead upon the world he now inhabits.
Sam Raimi's use of special effects with the hordes of demonic zombies wreaking havoc on the medieval fortress is not only in keeping with the stop-motion appeal of the first two movies, but also harks back to the semi-forgotten days of the Ray Harryhausen features of the 60s and 70s.
In the early 90s when I first saw Army Of Darkness, and especially the battle scenes, I immediately thought of Lord Of The Rings, and how great it would be if Raimi were to make LOTR the same way he made this movie. As satisfied as I am with Peter Jackson's treatment of my favourite book, I still can't help wondering what Raimi's take on it would have been like.
The two completely different endings to the film have fans on both sides, but from a personal point of view, the apocalyptic "I've slept too long!" ending seems far more appropriate than the S-Mart ending, which seemed a bit too dreamlike and imaginary for my liking.
Maybe now that Raimi has had the free reign experience of the Spiderman movies, and the budgets they command, he could turn his attention to a fourth installment of Evil Dead. Any discerning horror fan simply cannot afford to miss Army Of Darkness, and it should be a staple of any quality DVD collection.