Halloween film review: "Army of Darkness"
By Bethany Hutchens
Gargoyle staff reporter
Posted Friday, Oct. 27, 2006, The OG, arts
“Army of Darkness,” also known as “Army of Darkness: The Ultimate Experience in Medieval Horror,” is the final movie in director Sam Raimi's campy “Evil Dead” trilogy, and probably the best. The 1992 movie picks up where “Evil Dead II” left off.
In 1981's “Evil Dead,” Ash — the hero of all three movies — has just fought off his zombie friends who had been possessed by an evil lurking in the woods surrounding their vacation cabin. Ash (played by Bruce Campbell) manages to destroy his friends before they can overpower him.
In “Evil Dead II,” released in 1987, the evil comes after Ash himself, infesting his hand. Ash has to sever his own hand and replace it with his trusty chainsaw. To escape the evil Ash says an incantation that opens a portal in time.
“Trapped in time. Surrounded by evil. Low on gas.” This tagline just about sums the movie up. At the beginning of “Army of Darkness,” Ash is thrown into a time portal by the evil presence that has just destroyed his best friend, sister, and girlfriend.
The time portal takes him back to medieval times, roughly around 1300. Initially Ash is taken for a spy from the neighboring kingdom, but soon the locals realize that Ash may be the answer to a prophecy that will free the kingdom from an evil power.
Unfortunately Ash can't remember the three magic words that will release the kingdom, and accidentally unleashes an army of dead led by his alter ego: Evil Ash. Luckily, Ash still has his shotgun, car, and chainsaw.
In “Evil Dead,” much of the movie is taken up with Ash's grief over his loved ones. He's a newly minted hero and feels squeamish about dismembering his dead friends — the only way to keep them from coming back.
In “Army of Darkness,” Ash really gets to kick butt. No longer uncertain how to operate his weapons, Ash becomes a tough, cocky, albeit somewhat dumb chainsaw-wielding maniac.
“Army of Darkness” probably wouldn't scare a 3-year-old. The special effects are terrible, and the acting subpar. But, hey, what do you expect from a movie that has an evil twin as a character?
The movie doesn't take itself seriously and therefore can pull off its trashy hilarity effortlessly. Bruce Campbell is a B-movie legend and helps the plot along with his endless eyebrow expressions and antics.
Other characters include Ash's love interest, Sheila (Embeth Davidtz); Lord Arthur (Marcus Gilbert); and Linda (Bridget Fonda). “Army of Darkness” is the perfect movie to laugh at during the Halloween season — and don't forget to pick up “Evil Dead” and “Evil Dead II” to complete the trilogy.
“ARMY OF DARKNESS”
— Click here for IMDB entry
— Released: 1992
— Country: United States
— Runtime: 81 minutes (96 minutes, director's cut)
— Rated: R
— Director: Sam Raimi
— Starring: Bruce Campbell, Embeth Davidtz, Marcus Gilbert, Bridget Fonda