Thursday, October 30, 2014

Army of Darkness (Sam Raimi, 1992) Review

We've reached the end of the Evil Dead trilogy and I realise I need to do loads of one off films. After the gargantuan Saw franchise and now just finishing up a trilogy, I'm a bit fatigued. Well, there is one film left for October but before we look at that, we need to dive into where the trilogy decided to end...hence why it's a trilogy (my god, I'm tired). After Evil Dead II opened the door for a more comedic horror film, where can the last installment go from there? Let's find out.

Continuing off from Evil Dead II, Ash (Bruce Campbell) finds himself prisoner in the medieval time period. He manages to convince the townspeople that he is there to save them from the curse of the Necrenomicon. He travels to find the book but blunders his way out of way the right spell which causes the dead to rise as an army, led by his evil self, who start a war against the innocent people. Ash stands up as their savior armed only with his new prosthetic hand and his "boomstick"!

Army of Darkness is the best of the three. I'm throwing that out there. Leaving behind the generic horror genre for...something that doesn't even resemble it was a great idea. This makes Army of Darkness stand out and would probably explain why The Evil Dead title is omitted for this iteration. Ash combined with the medieval setting makes for a good subversion of the 'fish out of water' cliche. There is little time spent of Ash being an outcast as we almost instantly jumps into the ass kicking and wise cracking. Actually, the wise cracks are what make the film even better. This is a very quotable film and Ash becomes an even more iconic character. The rest of the cast is also improved (slightly cheating since the Evil Ash is obviously played by Bruce Campbell too) with the likes of Embeth Davidtz helping to expand the film. In the end, Ash is the only relevant character but the cast is much better than the rest of the series.

Weirdly enough, my biggest problem is that there are actually two versions of this film. If you were to buy Army of Darkness on DVD, who should end up with two discs, therefore two versions. I suppose it's down to personal preference as the differences only stem to slightly different dialogue and a completely different ending. I personally prefer the original theatrical ending as opposed to the director's cut as I prefer to see Ash win for once and it gives us one of the best lines. The expanded sense of humour is fantastic. Ash has since become one of my favourite film characters solely due to Army of Darkness. Evil Dead II was a start of what Ash would become. From generic, scared teenager to one handed, gun toting, wise cracking badass. THAT is character progression.

Army of Darkness is a fun good time. It's not out to change your life or offer social commentary, it is purely existing to entertain. Bruce Campbell is wonderful as Ash who proves to be a much better character thanks to much more comedic moments and wise cracks. The two endings does sour the experience as you have to debate which version you would prefer to watch. It's less of a horror film now but considering that horror movies have since become over saturated, jump scare filled and souless productions...that is expect one. There is one recent horror film that I have recently discovered and I will address that this Halloween. See you then!

Fun, quotable and a rip-roaring good time. Less focus on horror and more on comedy proves to be a good move.

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