It's no definitive masterpiece but it's damn close.
Absolutely the worst movie.
At first rather annoying in its heavy emphasis on reenactments, this movie ultimately proves fascinating, simply because the complicated, highly dramatic tale it tells still almost defies belief.
Great movie. Not sure what people expected but I found it highly entertaining.
'Evil Dead.' The original 'video nasty.' 'Evil Dead II.' The half sequel, half remake, three quarters reboot of the original 'video nasty.' 'Army of Darkness.' The sequel to one ending of the remake of 'Evil Dead' which sort of follows on, but also kind of creates a new continuity which then gets erased depending on which version you watch and then how you interpret what follows in 'Ash vs The Evil Dead.' Confused yet? It doesn't matter. Basically, if you're a fan of cheesy horror-comedies (or just love Bruce Campbell as much as I do) then you'll have a blast with 'Army of Darkness.' Despite 'The Evil Dead' franchise's 'liberal' attitude to continuity, no one seems to care. That's probably because its fan-base is just so damn loyal that they forgive these frequent lapses in story-telling and simply enjoy the films (and now TV show) for what they are - dumb, silly - and very, very gory - fun.'Army of Darkness' carries on this tradition. Yes, you probably should have watched at least 'Evil Dead II,' but this (sort of) third instalment will hardly punish you for not knowing its entire back story. Basically, a man gets trapped in medieval times and has to fight his way back to the present. However, it just so happens that the man in question has just so happened to have a lot of experience in slaying disgusting monsters and manages to do it without the use of a hand and an array of dry quips (and a shotgun - that comes in pretty handy, too). Yes, it's none other than 'Ash,' played effortlessly by Bruce Campbell.If you've never heard of Ash/Bruce Campbell, it's actually quite hard to tell where one ends and the other begins (assuming they're different people to begin with). He's certainly not your average hero. He's definitely not politically correct and fits perfectly with the whole 'Evil Dead' feel of gore and gags. It never takes itself seriously and delights in spraying more unnecessary pints of blood all over the screen for as long as possible (most of which ends up on Bruce one way or another!).I suppose if you're completely used to 'modern horror' and like your films 'dark, gritty and realistic' then you may hate 'Army of Darkness' (and the whole 'Evil Dead' vibe). The special effects are pretty cheap-looking (not much computer-generated effects here, mainly blue screen and practical effects). It's hardly scary, choosing self-knowingness over true horror. But it certainly is disgusting. And great fun. There's a reason why the 'Evil Dead' films have stood the test of time (and why its dark and gritty remake of 2013 is barely worth talking about). 'Army of Darkness' is a shining example of a great film that can be made without the need for a massive budget (although, compared to the original 'Evil Dead's' budget, I guess 'Army of Darkness' was 'expensive!'Hail to the king of B-movies and the whole 'Evil Dead' franchise.
I can understand how this film wound up a cult classic but it did very little for me. It's difficult to categorize what genre it's in, as it combines elements of horror, sci-fi, comedy and camp, along with a lot of farcical nonsense. So maybe that's the appeal for dyed in the wool fans who have watched it over and over again, judging by it's positive reviews on this board. I have to admit though, the concept was cleverly outlandish, taking a modern day housewares clerk and transporting him back to the medieval ages along with his car and a chainsaw. Lots of possibilities there, but then it degenerated into a lot of downright silly battles against evil demons and a whole host of skeleton warriors. I guess that's where the Army of Darkness comes in. Without acknowledging it's origin in the 1951 sci-fi classic "The Day The Earth Stood Still" (one of my favorite movies by the way), our hero Ash (Bruce Campbell) is given a secret password to retrieve a deadly scripture known as the Necronomicon. However it sounded to me like the second word in the phrase 'Klaatu, Barada, Nikto' was changed to something like 'Verata', or at least that's the way I heard it. The original usage of the term in the earlier movie was also used as sort of a password to let a supporting character advise an alien robot that it's Master Klaatu was in trouble. In retrospect, now that I think about it, the usage of 'Klaatu, Verata, Nikto' here might have meant the whole picture was in trouble. (But in a good way for all you loyal fans.)
Following my viewing of Evil Dead II, I was so pumped to watch the final installment of the Evil Dead franchise and sure enough, it didn't let me down. From start to it's ending, Army of Darkness is a non-stop fun ride, packed with great humor, a haunting score, solid directing and Bruce Campbell.Picking up where the end of the second movie left off, Ash Williams is sucked though a portal and finds himself in medieval England where he is enslaved by a local lord and is led to a castle where he is tossed into a pit and kills a Deadite and begins to form a relationship with one of maidens at the castle, but still wants to return to his own time. With the assistance of the castle's wise man, Ash learns that only the Book of the Dead has the power to spend him back, so Ash gallops off to retrieve the book, only to unleash the evil upon the people when he doesn't utter the correct worlds. Now, Ash and the remaining castle defenders must stop the Evil Dead before it destroys them.When the first Evil Dead movie came out in 1981, it changed the horror genre forever and six years later, Sam gave us a sequel that was even better than the first one, now with Army of Darkness, Raimi has given us the ultimate cult horror movie and while some trilogies fail with producing a great third movie, such is not the case here as Army of Darkness is able to be a fine sequel without having to throw the quality of the first two movies out the window.As with the first two, the budget is quite small at around 11 million and yet the movie still is able to build a frightening and exciting fantasy domain with impressive sets like the castle, an old windmill and a graveyard which do look fantastic as do the visual effects, showing the same level of effort and passion Sam and the crew put into the other movies and they still hold up wonderfully to this day with a mix of prosthetics, make-up, masks, and blue-screen which help make the world come alive as does the make-up on Evil Ash which is also impressively done, but when it comes to the effects in the film, nothing beats the stop-motion skeleton army which seem to have been lifted straight out of a Ray Harryhausen movie. With the budget being 10 million easily being viewed on the screen, Sam and the crew clearly had to be more imaginative and the results look incredibly real and intimidating and are able to produce a creepy and valid ambiance that is rarely seen in today's horror films.The directing here in again top-notch. Sam Raimi continues to use his trademark peppy and unconventional style when filming Army of Darkness and it works a treat. One of the reasons I admire his films so much is because of Sam's unbridled ability and readiness to put the viewer's amusement center stage, not to mention his camera work here is nothing short of perfection here, making great use of fast-moving cuts and shots, while the score by Joseph Loduca and Danny Elfman is creepy and unsettling and compliments the movie nicely and Bill Pope's cinematography is simply beautiful to behold.While Evil Dead 2 managed to balance the horror and comedy beautifully, Army of Darkness does add a lot more humor to the mix and while that will turn some people away from it, I feel that it works in the movie's favor. The scene of Ash forgetting which words he needs to recite when retrieving the Necromoicon and alternately hiccups on the last word and the outcome is him being eye-poked by a bunch of skeletons is truly hilarious or when he attempts to take a false version of the Book of the Dead only to be almost engulfed by a vortex or when Evil Ash has a shotgun pointed up his nose but the scene that had me laughing my head off the most during the course of the movie is where after the evil has chased Ash into an abandoned windmill then is attacked by numerous tiny villainous clones of himself that come out of a shattered mirror and they proceed to attack him by ramming a fork into his back and one jumps down his throat, truly one of the best scenes in the whole trilogy that'll have you in stitches the whole time.As with Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2, all the cast in Army of Darkness play their parts well. Marcus Gilbert is incredibly straight laced as Lord Arthur, providing a candid contrast to Ash's tomfoolery while Ian Abercrombie brings a certain charm to the role of Arthur's wise man as does Embeth Davidtz as Shelia, the women who catches Ash's eye. Richard Grove rounds out the cast perfectly as Lord Henry and even Bridget Fonda and Sam's brother Ted Raimi have some memorable moments, but as with the last two films, Bruce Campbell is the reason to watch this movie. I can't say it enough how Bruce is and will always be Ash Williams, no questions asked. From starting out as a frightened pansy in the first film to being a demon slaying bad-ass, his character has matured as the movies were made and here, he is in his element as your ordinary American Joe with his shotgun, cocky attitude and one-liners, but still manages to maintain the same level of swagger and charisma that he had in the first two movies as well as continuing to give us tons of awesome physical comedy as well as showing us insensitive weakness, over-the-top scene chewing, and irregular bravery.Go watch Army of Darkness if you haven't seen it already, I can't recommend it enough.
Alan Smithee Esq.
The "Evil Dead" series gets lots of deserved love. But in the midst of all that love the original film, it's re-imagining, the comics and now TV series over shadow part three. Just because it doesn't have "Evil Dead" in the title this is an epic film. Slapstick humor, violence, gore are all on display in this criminally under-rated masterpiece of a the beloved franchise. Side note: There are many versions of this film available due to many different factors most involving the studio not approving of certain aspects of the film. It's all good but the bootleg/director's cut with the original ending is the must see.