Army of Darkness is written for and aimed directly at teens. However, I found that I enjoyed it a lot also. There is something about the film that is amiable and welcoming.
Forget that Army of Darkness is really part three of the Evil Dead series - knowledge of the first two films is condensed into a ten-minute introduction. Army of Darkness is a stand-alone movie that really doesn’t rely on its older brothers. As the story goes, Ash (Bruce Campbell) is sucked into the past by an evil book. In the past the only way he can get home is to find the book again and say a few magic words.
Ash, in the previous movies, lost one of his hands to an evil form. He now attaches a chainsaw to the stump of the missing hand. In the other hand, he carries his shotgun or “boom stick.” Don’t bother with how a one handed guy can load a shotgun - this isn’t a movie about reality or logic.
As Ash finds the book of the evil watch as he recites the magical words.
This movie is the perfect mix of stupid humor, horror, and action. The character Ash is played straight faced by Bruce Campbell and this works very well. The kind of characters that I laugh most at and with are those who are caught in silly situations but don’t know it. Ash is one of those characters and Campbell knows it. Campbell is cool as Ash.
Army of Darkness is like a live comic book in the truest sense. The editing of the film is cut-cut-cut, no transitions needed. This editing accounts for the short 81 minute running time - this include credits! This is a hyperactive movie. If this movie were one of the evil dead, it would turn pale from not breathing.
Worth mentioning are the special effects in Army of Darkness. There are some that stand out, such as the actual army of darkness standing on a hill ready to attack the castle. Then there are those special effects that are laughable, and I’m not sure if it was intended or not. This would include the bad matting of the “little Ashes” with the big Ash.
Also worth mentioning is Sam Raimi and his cinematographer Bill Pope for putting together some intricate and inventive shots. I love how Raimi and Pope shoot flying projectiles.
I surely can’t recommend this film to everyone. I can recommend it for teens. I can recommend it for those of you looking for a funny medieval flick. However, for those of you looking for more substance, you won’t find it here. There’s only a bag of bones here.
Edited by Cher Johnson.