Movies & TV Reviews

Army of Darkness (1993) Review

Army of Darkness, Dino De Laurentiis Company

Back in 1981, a guy named Ash, went to a cabin out in the middle of nowhere to hang out with some friends. Everything that happened in that little cabin in the woods was the start of The Evil Dead franchise. In 1987, we got the sequel Evil Dead II and in 1992 we got the third installment, Army of Darkness. In October 2015, a 3-disc Blu-ray collector’s edition was released for Army of Darkness with new bonus features. Now, Army of Darkness was the last installment to the (Sam Raimi) Evil Dead franchise, but back in 2013, we got a reboot called Evil Dead that was more horror based than comedy. There was talk about eventually bringing the two versions together in a crossover, but (luckily) that failed to happen, at least not yet.

Now, most of the world has at least heard of the Evil Dead franchise, and a lot of us know what we’re getting into when watching the movies. For the few people that have not yet hopped on board the Evil Dead train (why not?), then you are missing out on some serious Bruce Campbell awesome-ness. In Army of Darkness, Ash is transported back to the year 1300 A.D. where he must retrieve the Necronomicon. Boomstick loaded and chainsaw… on stump, Ash sets off on his journey to find the book so he can use it to get back home. After he finds the Necronomicon, all Ash has to do is say three little words and everything will work out just fine. Klaatu, Barada… Nik… crap what was that last word? Now, all Ash has to do is fight an army of Deadites, get the book back from them, and then get home. Sounds easy enough…

Army of Darkness, Dino De Laurentiis Company

Army of Darkness was written and directed by Sam Raimi. Now, if you haven’t seen the first two films, I don’t think you will be able to truly enjoy the full Groovy-ness of Army of Darkness. There’s so much about the Ash character that is built up through the first two films that make the pay off of Army of Darkness so great. Now, I’m not saying you can’t watch Army of Darkness and not enjoy it, cause that’s just not true! The opening of Army of Darkness fills you in on how we get from the first movie to this one, but you miss out on a lot of laughs and twisted scenes along the way.

The playthrough will keep you entertained the entire time. Army of Darkness carries the same feel and sometimes even has the look of films like Jason and the Argonauts (1963), Gulliver’s Travels (1977) and The Three Stooges. There are a few jump scares during the movie because it is a horror, but it’s filled with a ton of humor. From beginning to end you’ll get hit with jokes, sight gags and all of the Bruce Campbell awesomeness you can handle, and then some.

Some of the faces you’ll see are Bruce Campbell (The Evil Dead), Embeth Davidtz (Schindlers’ List), Marcus Gilbert (Freebird), Ian Abercrombie (The Lost World: Jurassic Park) and Richard Grove (Point Break). Now, I’m biased and I fully admit it, but Campbell is a huge part of what makes the Evil Dead franchise so awesome. Yeah, Raimi created a great story for all three films, but it was Campbell that brought the Ash character to life and has kept it living all this time. It’s Campbell’s delivery and acting style that has won fans over time after time. Biase aside, I thought everyone else did a great job. Abercrombie, Davidtz, and Gilbert play the more straight characters to help balance Campbell’s comedy.

Army of Darkness, Dino De Laurentiis Company

The special effects for Army of Darkness looked good but in a cheesy sort of way. You’ll see a lot of practical effects and stop motion throughout the movie. Now, I will warn you, don’t expect to see some super high budget special effects. The budget for Army of Darkness was $11 million and that was the biggest budget of the three films. Rimi got used to doing what he could with little money, but you can definitely see where the money went in Army of Darkness because of the bigger sets, the huge Deadite battle and all of the other effects used throughout the movie. Bottom line, it looks like a low budget film, but the look fits the corny telling of the story perfectly.

Army of Darkness is rated R for violence and language. Now, most of the violence is comic based, like a guy dies in a pit with a monster, we never see what happens, but an insane amount of blood comes shooting up like a fountain. Even when Ash shoots someone with his shotgun, it knocks the person back, but there’s no blood. You’ll see blood from cuts or punches, but nothing ever gets gory during the movie.

Army of Darkness, Dino De Laurentiis Company

As for the special features, there’s a ton of stuff to go through in this three disc collector’s set.

— DISC ONE (Theatrical Version) —
NEW Medieval Times: The Making Of “Army Of Darkness” Featuring Interviews With Cast & Crew
Original Ending
Original Opening With Optional Commentary By Sam Raimi And Bruce Campbell
Deleted Scenes With Optional Commentary By Sam Raimi And Bruce Campbell
Theatrical Trailer
TV Spots
Home Video Promo

— DISC TWO (Director’s Cut) —
Audio Commentary With Director Sam Raimi, Actor Bruce Campbell, And Co-Writer Ivan Raimi
NEW Additional Behind-The-Scenes Footage From KNB Effects
Vintage Creating The Deadites Featurette
Vintage “Making Of” Featurette
Extended Interview Clips With Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell, And Robert Tapert

— DISC THREE (International Cut) —
NEW 4K Scan Of The International Inter-positive
Television Version With Additional Footage (Standard Definition)
Theatrical Trailer
NEW Still Galleries With Rare Behind-The-Scenes Photos From Production Designer Anthony Tremblay, Visual Effects Supervisor William Mesa And Special Make-Up Effects Artists Tony Gardner And KNB EFX, Inc. (Over 200 Stills)
NEW Still Gallery Of Props And Rare Photos From The Collection Of Super Fan Dennis Carter Jr.
NEW Storyboards For Deleted Or Alternate Scenes
Vintage The Men Behind The Army Featurette

Overall, if you’ve managed to go this long in your life without watching a man cut off his own hand and then attach a chainsaw to it, you are seriously missing out! Join the Bruce Campbell fan club, check out Army of Darkness and you’ll be building a shrine to the chin before you know it.

 

80

Score

8/10

    Pros

    • Full of laughs
    • Good cast
    • Cool special effects

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