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Army of Darkness Reviews

Page 1 of 586
Phil H

Super Reviewer

September 24, 2007
I remember very clearly when I saw this film on the shelves at my local videoshop all those years ago. The films poster/art cover looked a bit scruffy, there was only one lone copy and I recall thinking to myself what tacky, cheesy B-movie guff it looked like. It kinda looked like a grotty seedy rip off of 'Willow'.

Following straight on from 'Evil Dead II' we now find 'Ash' in medieval times, an age of knights and Kings...for some reason. Yep Ash crash lands in 1300 AD which I'm guessing is in our past? not an alternative dimension or anything I presume?. Not overly sure about that one as it clearly isn't the rolling hills of merry olde England, although the King or Lord is called Arthur but that's not the King Arthur, so perhaps an alternate Arthur or maybe just a less heard about Arthur. The time period isn't accurate either or even close but maybe I'm just delving a little too deep here.

Of course the main reason why the land looks as it does is probably down to the fact Raimi and co couldn't afford to actually go to England and film there...if its suppose to be medieval England that is. This leads me to my first tiny issue I have with this film, the era/setting and visual effects used. I do like the setting ideas and the dark middle ages type approach but it also does tend to invite the cheapness to shine through on occasion. The reason for this I think is because some of the film is in daylight and it just doesn't look as it should, its not dark obviously, not eerie or creepy...its errr daylight. It highlights the joins in the special effects as it were.

The other issue I had with the film was the fact it looked too cheap in places for me. We all know the film/franchise is suppose to be a low budget schlocky affair but over the course of the three films the budget got better and so should the effects to a degree. You look at 'Evil Dead II' and its cheesy as fuck, but the effects still have a great look about them in that classic 80's tradition, looks both good and bad at the same time. This film at times does look really really cheap, maybe a bit too cheap. The skeleton hordes at the end are just extras in basic costumes with plastic skeleton bits stuck on them, really didn't like that. A sequence where Ash is fighting skeleton warriors, the skeletons are clearly just being thrown at him one by one by crew members...actually it is a deliberately hilarious little moment.

Some of the effects are a sheer joy to watch, use of classic stop motion animation on some of the skeletons and a bit on Ash look terrific. Its just a shame all the skeletons couldn't be stop motion, a big stop motion battle at the end. Like the previous film effects are covered by every trick in the book, some glorious makeup jobs, masks and prosthetics alongside some ultra hammy bluescreen work on the mini Ash creations. Loved Evil Ash's design and makeup job, really top notch work there, when Ash splits in two is a brilliant sequence as we see the crazed delirious Ash running wildly through the misty moonlit night, loved the sets for most night scenes and the odd deadites we saw had that classic Raimi look about them, nice.

In this film Ash has also completely converted into a fully fledged iconic fantasy hero with his chainsaw hand and shotgun. The character has the look of a comic book character and is totally different to previous incarnations in the last two films. This is bolstered by the snappy dialog, quickfire quips, plenty of hero posing with the shotgun, a bit more muscle on show and the classic damsel in distress to save. I do like this aspect very much but at the same time I felt it got a little bit out of hand at times much like the overall comedy aspect.

'Gimme some sugar, baby'

There are moments where I really wince because its just too goofy, when Ash is getting some Three Stooges treatment from the skeletal hands coming up from their graves is one such example. Another is when Ash has two heads and we get more Three Stooges tomfoolery, was that really needed?. Also there are odd bits of dialog from the bad guys which have been edited in and are just too silly for me, that and some really hokey skeleton prop moments...yikes!.

Another discussion builder is the two ending sequences, which do you prefer?. Myself I'm not sure, I liked the apocalyptic ending but I don't really get how that is suppose to have happened. Its a bit of a Tim Burton 'Planet of the Apes' ending that one, makes no real sense. So I guess I must go with the cornball ending where Ash becomes or continues on as a one liner spewing, shotgun wielding demon/deadite slayer. I think that ending does fit more inline with the character and plot. All those cool one liners do feel very much like a precursor to 'Bubba Ho-Tep' if you ask me.

'Hail to the king, baby'

I tend to think of this film as a twisted Harryhausen flick, a dark surreal vision of his work, just a different spin. It is an oddity indeed, its not really horror, not scary at all, its outright fantasy really, much like 'Krull' 'The Beastmaster' or 'The Princess Bride'. The film is such a drastic move away from the original concepts of the first two films its quite unusual. I do like the film very much, its a great little dark bizarre fairytale of sorts but I just don't think it fits in with the Evil Dead franchise really, its so different from the first two. Great to get away from the cabin location of course, the grim medieval setting is fine and the dark humour is fine...I just feel a bit more gore, a little less slapstick and maybe a touch more jumpy in the horror department and it would have been perfect.

Super Reviewer

June 9, 2006
Picking up where Evil Dead 2 left off, Ash finds himself trapped in the Middle Ages, still fighting it out with the undead. This film is a slapstick comedy gem. The only 'horror' element to it is the undead, that's it. The rest is all silly, goofy, physical comedy fun.

It's not really my cup of tea, as I would have preferred a little more darkness and seriousness, but the humor is done decently well. I'm mostly a supporter of this film because it's a sequel to two great films, and was one of the last bits of mainstream film I can think of to feature great use of stop motion. Sure, it's not as gory as the others, and it ain't scary, but I think that could have taken it in a far worse direction than this.

Give it a shot. It's not what I was hoping for, but it still manages to be a decent time anyway, so that really says something.

Super Reviewer

May 9, 2013
three stars

Super Reviewer

October 1, 2010
"Army of Darkness" is technically a movie on it's own, but it has the feel of a threequel as the first 10 minutes of the film reflects the end of the second, which was already a bizarre conclusion. They have begun to milk the series by now, but they have done a damn good job of it. Most of the time you will find yourself laughing at how much hollywood cheese is in it, but that only adds to the epic-ness that the end of the movie holds. The movie definitely shows a balance of freshness and complete rehashing of the first two, but overall, "Army of Darkness" is a welcome addition to the series. Bruce Campbell delivers his hilariously awesome one liners, the believability is brought to a knew low (which is great), the shots are far more superior and not as "stretchy" as some of the older ways, and the final battle is new heights to action that this trilogy has never seen before. Still, it's not as fresh "The Evil Dead" films, but as a movie on it's own, it is awesome!
Everett J

Super Reviewer

April 6, 2013
This is the third movie in the "Evil Dead" series, and it's the best. Picks up where the second movie ends as Ash(Bruce Campbell) as been teleported back to 14th Century Medieval times. All he has is his '88 Oldsmobile, the boom stick, and the chainsaw for a right hand. He helps battle the deadites and hopefully return home to his job at S-Mart("Shop Smart. Shop S-Mart"). This isn't a horror movie at all, instead it's an action/adventure/comedy hybrid that is one of the most original movies ever made. It's hysterical, has some great gags, and offers up some of the best one liners that I(along with many others) still quote to this day. Campbell is amazing and gives one of the best comedic performances ever. He has to be the most underrated actor ever. I've only ever seen the original theatrical version. When I rewatched last night I watched the Directors Cut(I have the boom stick edition dvd, and it has both versions). I gotta say, I much prefer the original. The directors cut has a completely different ending, that doesn't work for me at all, along with a couple other differences. Still a great movie, but the original theatrical cut is the one to watch. This is a must watch as it holds up so good after all these year. If you don't like it, then your dumber than f***, and probably don't have good taste in movies. Hail to the King Baby!
Eugene B

Super Reviewer

March 17, 2013
Bruce Campbell and the Raimi brothers decide to stray away from the gory-horror ambiance and took an adventurous and comedic toll. Army of Darkness (Evil Dead 3) is a hip entry in the trilogy. Although it strays away from the horror we came to know and love, it still manages to entertain and yet be suspenseful in a way only the Raimi brothers and Bruce Campbell could do. 4/5
Market Man
Market Man

Super Reviewer

August 2, 2012
I think it takes a certain type of person to enjoy these types of films. I'm not one of them. It's too bizarre and not funny at all. The story isn't even good. It's just bad on every level.
Samuel Riley
Samuel Riley

Super Reviewer

October 13, 2012
This is Sam Raimi's conclusion to the legendary cult franchise. This time, Bruce Campbell returns with his trusty chainsaw and boomstick, to bring an end the reign of the Deadites. While the previous title was a Comical Horror, this focuses on being more of a comedy. Nevertheless, Ash is only getting started with his classic one liners. The 'Army Of Darkness' may not top the legacy created 'Evil Dead II', but this film does have its perks and deserves to be watched by Raimi, Campbell, fantasy and possibly comedy fans.
Daniel Mumby
Daniel Mumby

Super Reviewer

June 2, 2012
The number of truly great threequels can be counted on one hand. For every Last Crusade or Return of the Jedi, there's a dozen Superman III's, Mad Max 3's, or even The Never-Ending Story III's. But perhaps there is no more disappointing threequel than Evil Dead 3: Army of Darkness, Sam Raimi's overly goofy conclusion to his cult horror-comedy trilogy. Most of the good work of the first two instalments is swiftly undone, resulting in a mess of half-arsed jokes and missed opportunities.

Whether by sheer bad luck or something in his nature, Raimi's Evil Dead trilogy mirrors his subsequent Spider-Man trilogy in terms of the quality of each instalment. Both The Evil Dead and Spider-Man were delivered with relatively low expectations, with Raimi not being a big name in Hollywood. The success of these films prompted a sequel with more money attached and a new-found fan following, leading Raimi to improve on and refine all the aspects of the first instalment, and thus deliver a sequel that really stood up.

When it came to the third instalment in both series, Raimi was faced with a problem. With even more money and even higher expectations, he could not simply produce more of the same: he couldn't send Ash back to the cabin, any more than he could break up Peter Parker and Mary-Jane. With both Evil Dead 3 and Spider-Man 3 he uncharacteristically panicked, throwing everything and the kitchen sink at the screen in the hope that some of it would work. And as is the way with such an approach, most of what he attempted didn't work, resulting in each case with an overlong, disappointing mess.

With both productions, one could point to studio interference as the reason for the films never really taking flight. Raimi's career has been dogged by studio executives meddling with his preferred cut or interfering in the creative process. They butchered his cut of Crimewave so that it made no sense, and refused to cast Bruce Campbell in the title role in Darkman. With Evil Dead 3, Raimi went into the project with the backing of Dino De Laurentiis, who intended to make the film independently and sell it to Universal as a negative pick-up. But eventually the budget increased to $12m, with Universal putting in half and handling all post-production, resulting in several scenes being reshot and the ending being completely changed.

But despite the pressures on Raimi, from Universal and elsewhere, there is also a lot of evidence to suggest that Evil Dead 3 is exactly the film he that wanted to make. When interviewed for The Evil Dead Companion back in 2000, Campbell said that the main reason Raimi made Evil Dead 2 as a quasi-remake was because he hadn't quite worked out the storyline for the planned mediaeval instalment. Even withstanding the efforts of Universal to cut the film to a PG-13 rather than an R, there is a conscious effort on the part of Raimi to tone down the horror elements from the first two films to appeal to a younger audience.

The first two films worked so well because Raimi's love of goofy slapstick comedy, and specifically The Three Stooges, was balanced perfectly by the shocking, demented horror being shown on screen. There was never any doubt that the films were not meant to be taken seriously, but there was a feeling that the horror elements served as an important counterweight to prevent the goofiness from being overemphasised. In Evil Dead 3, Raimi's comedy influences are far more unrestrained and ill-disciplined, with the jokes failing to coalesce around any kind of concrete narrative.

The story of Evil Dead 3 is all over the place, in whichever version you see. There is the basic plot of Ash being stranded in the year 1300 and desperately trying to get home, but the story keeps getting distracted or slowed up by the set-pieces, some of which work and some of which really drag out. The whole sequence in the windmill, culminating in Ash literally splitting into Bad Ash and Good Ash, feels like passingly humorous padding to prevent him getting to the Necronomicon sooner and to get the film to around 90 minutes. Even when Bad Ash re-emerges in the third act to command the Army of Darkness, the windmill scene feels unnecessary because Raimi could have introduced the character later in the film without losing any impact or momentum.

You can understand Raimi wanting to bring in other influences to prevent the film from re-treading old ground from the first two instalments. But none of the ideas or story arcs he introduces are developed adequately enough or taken to their natural conclusions. The majority of jokes or references to classic literature feel like they have been dropped in to make the film feel like a narrative departure, resulting in less of a narrative departure than a departure from narrative.

The basic plot of Evil Dead 3 is a very good example of this. The story is rooted in Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, with its familiar aspects of a main character coming into a different time, struggling to fit in and eventually becoming something of a hero. But with the exception of some of the dialogue between Ash and his mediaeval girlfriend, there is little effort made to work the fish-out-of-water story, let alone do something original with it. The plot squanders several points of great potential, reducing the concept of introducing 20th-chemistry to wizards to a couple of brief gags in the last 10 minutes. The unveiling of a steam-powered car (which looks like a Mad Max knock-off) is just waved on through and allowed to run its course like it was any other joke.

With the battle sequences, Raimi wanted to pay homage to the great Ray Harryhausen, who designed the stop-motion monsters for the likes of Clash of the Titans and Jason and the Argonauts, which also features a skeleton army. We get a fair amount of cartoon slapstick, involving Campbell's face being stretched using latex rubber, but unlike Harryhausen's monsters there is no real sense of threat being generated from any of the jokes. When the books attack Ash, by sucking him through a tunnel or biting his fingers, it feels like a harmless practical joke that has wandered into what should be a really spooky scene.

Then there is the question of Raimi's direction. There are less handheld or steadicam shots in the film, with the majority of the final battle being done in a combination of wide-angle crane shots and close-ups for the gags. Because Evil Dead 3 has more locations and characters, this is to some extent necessary, and it does feel like a more professional production than the other two. But what we gain in a smooth operator, we lose in the ability of the film to concentrate its energy, and it ends up flannelling in several directions at once.

The biggest problem with Evil Dead 3 is that it doesn't feel entirely self-confident, either in its story or its shift towards a more goofy tone. Rather than behaving like its predecessor, settling on a given scenario and allowing the humour to escalate, it keeps jumping between different locations and set-pieces as if it doesn't know where the next laugh is coming from. If The Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2 are like laser-guided missiles, Evil Dead 3 is like a cluster bomb: it may hit some of the target, but a lot of unwanted damage is caused along the way.

On top of all that, there are little inconsistencies and contrivances within the plot which take some of the energy out of the film. There are basic continuity errors, as Ash's shotgun keeps disappearing and reappearing without explanation. Having the science books in the back of Ash's Oldsmobile is a huge deus ex machina which will try one's patience even if you attempt to laugh it off. The film comes unstuck even when it treads close to the previous instalments, such as the creation of Ash's new hand. We didn't bat an eyelid when he just shoved a chainsaw on the end, but when you introduce technology that wouldn't look out of place in Star Wars, it merits a little explanation.

Evil Dead 3: Army of Darkness is a massive let-down, with very few of the jokes hitting their mark and neither of the endings making much sense. It's not an outright failure, containing moments of promise and another reliably good performance by Bruce Campbell. But it falls far short of the standards set by its predecessors and fails in its own right as a piece of fantasy slapstick. It's the cinematic equivalent of wheel-spin: lots of energy, smoke and noise, but no real movement or direction.

Super Reviewer

January 14, 2012
It definitely smacks of a "third installment plot idea," and Evil Dead fans are generally quick to dismiss it (in large part because Raimi tones down the horror in favor of the slapstick), but as a send up to the Marx Brothers and The Three Stooges, Army of Darkness works and Raimi is in complete control at all times. By the way, is there a better POV director around? It's amazing what the man can do with the camera.

Super Reviewer

March 22, 2008
Even for a B-movie, it's bad. so whimsical and outrageous that its stupid and unfunny.I did not like Army of Darkness at all. I loved the first two Evil Dead movies....loved the few characters it had and how much could happen in a small cabin...the 3rd was just silliness drawn from cheap slapstick humor that did not work as part of a? horror trilogy.
Christopher H

Super Reviewer

June 13, 2011
Although some may be disappointed that the film is the more leaned towards comedy than the previous two, Army of Darkness still delivers another dose of wildly non-sensical fun. Bruce Campbell delivers insanely quotable one-liner after another. Raimi walks the fine line between tongue-in-cheek and parody, and he succeeds with flying colors.

Super Reviewer

September 6, 2010
I couldn't understand all the people who said this was the best of the Evil Dead Trilogy. I think it's the worst, it's not even a horror movie, it's just a plain comedy with a bunch of gross stuff added to make it look like it should fit with the rest of the trilogy. It's ridiculous, goofy, and stupid for the most part. Sometimes I kinda liked that about it, but for the most part, not.
Lewis C

Super Reviewer

May 2, 2010
"Honey, you got real ugly."

I thought The Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2 were fantastic. Their low budgets didn't preclude them both from being some pretty entertaining horror movies in their own unique ways. Army of Darkness totally eschews all pretense of being a horror movie, and goes solely for a campy vibe that revolves around Bruce Campbell's character, Ash. This will be right up some people's alleys, but I can't say I loved the change.

As the movie picks up where Evil Dead 2 left off, Ash is transported back through time. The evil of the Deadites and the power of the Necronomicon still wait for him in England's Dark Ages, however, and he's unwillingly thrust into a battle to save a castle full of people from the an army of undead.

Some people will probably welcome the shift in scope and total change in tone, but I really missed the vibe of the first two flicks. Sure, they were way over-the-top and occasionally campy/silly, but Army of Darkness is a completely different animal. I'll stick to the original two films over the silly action hijinks of Army of Darkness.

Super Reviewer

March 16, 2007
Ash finds himself in the 14th century where he must battle an army of the dead to prevent them getting their hands on the necronomicon and laying waste to the world. Evil Dead 2 was an undeniably ridiculous film and its combination of over the top gore and humour makes it one of my favourites. Army Of Darkness follows on directly from the end of that film (sort of...there's a little Saturday morning serial style re-writing going on!) that gives Sam Raimi the opportunity to throw some swashbuckling and Monty Python And The Holy Grail humour into the mix. Imagine A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court if the Yankee were an obnoxious, smart mouthed convenience store clerk and King Arthur's Court were full of zombies. The humour is if anything even broader this time around, as the evil minions are subjected to the kind of slapstick violence that you'd usually associate with an Itchy And Scratchy cartoon. The skeletal plot is little more than an excuse for a series of one liners and sight gags and the "horror" elements are so comic strip it has an almost family friendly feel about it; in fact the formula of a feckless coward caught up in medieval swordplay reminded me of Bob Hope in something like The Princess And The Pirate more than anything. It's a deeply silly film that doesn't take itself remotely seriously and taken as such is very entertaining but don't expect anything even vaguely challenging or thought provoking!

Super Reviewer

April 4, 2009
"Trapped in time. Surrounded by evil. Low on gas"

A man is accidentally transported to 1300 A.D., where he must battle an army of the dead and retrieve the Necronomicon so he can return home.

This third installment in the cult series has a thin connection to its predecessors. Ash (Bruce Campbell) is whisked back in time to medieval days where he must locate the "Book of The Dead", the tome that originally summoned the "Evil Dead" from beneath a cabin floor. The guy is such a dope that he only remembers part of the simple incantation for summoning the creatures and sending them back to their resting place. More a Harryhausen-style fantasy flick than pure, juvenile horror, it is, nevertheless, insanely entertaining if you're prepared to run with its non-stop craziness. The climax, which involves an army of skeletons marching on a castle, is pure, old school Harryhausen and even recalled a great Al Sarrantonio novel I'd read, "Skeletons", in which skinless nasties get up out of their graves and proceed to do bulk damage to the human race. Raimi's direction is inventive and the effects are wonderful. More deliberately comical than the other two, not as gory as the second entry, but a great piece of pulp entertainment, nonetheless.

Super Reviewer

June 9, 2010
With Army Of Darkness, Sam Raimi decided to use his effective Horror-Comedy formula and use that for this whacked out Horror-Comedy. Army Of Darkness is one of the best sequels in the trilogy, and is quite quotable. The one liners are great, the Comedic elements will make you laugh out loud and you will have the time of your life watching this film. This is one great addition to The Evil Dead trilogy, it has strong wit, and clever one liners. The film also has a good dose of action thrown in the mix, and with that, Army Of Darkness is an achievement in Horror-Comedy that should appeal to fans of the first two films, as well as fans of Horror Comedy film. You are guaranteed a good time watching this film, Groovy!

Super Reviewer

August 30, 2006
This is one of the best Evil Dead series with mixed genres - comedy, action, fantasy and horror - from the start to end.
This is a great re-telling of sorts of Jason and the Argonauts story, only with a little more schlock, however in some scenes, like the skeletons giving Ash (played by Bruce Campbell) "Three Stooges" treatment, there is a little too much schlock. Don't get me wrong though, the film is funny and does have some great one-liners, such as Ash introducing his sawed off shotgun as his "boomstick", and calling some of the men "primitive screw-heads". The effects are great, and the direction is superb, especially scenes of the Army of Darkness riding horseback and attacking the castle.
Also this film has an enormous amount of quotable lines. Bruce Campbell is THE MAN! The way he says stuff is just great!

Super Reviewer

January 31, 2010
Not my kind of movie but entertaining nevertheless.
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