Directed by: Sam Raimi
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Written by Alexander Reams
“Yeah. All right, you primitive screwheads, listen up. See this? This… is my BOOMSTICK!”
It had been 11 years since audiences were graced with the creation of “The Evil Dead,” and by 1992 it had not only gained a healthy following but was regarded as one of the finest horror pictures to come out of the 1980s. Then the requel that was “Evil Dead II” came. While it was well received, it was not the financial success of the original and thus stalled the franchise from continuing sooner, leading Raimi to leave and make the superhero drama “Darkman” for Universal which was a financial success. This led Universal to green-light Raimi’s gonzo movie and thus “Army of Darkness” was born.
“Army” picks up right where “Evil Dead II” ended, Ash is flying through a wormhole that lands him in the Middle Ages. That’s right, a man covered in blood, a mythical goop, and a chainsaw for a hand is in a land where a fire is considered a significant discovery. He is quickly relieved of his weapons and fights a deadite, whose appearance in these times is very frightening to the town. This is only ramped up by Raimi’s updated effects, still based on practical effects and the animatronics of the earlier films he continues to hone and evolve their implementation throughout each “Evil Dead” entry. But not even dancing skeletons can hide a bare-bones plot, and thankfully Raimi doesn’t disappoint. For two movies now we’ve heard about the Book of the Dead, and Raimi makes the object that everything centers around in this chapter of Ash’s journey the original Book of the Dead, the Necronomicon, Ash can’t return to modern times without it.
Raimi’s plot is mostly used to flow from one set piece to the next, showcasing the iconic pairing of Ash Williams with a chainsaw and “boom-stick” taking out deadites left and right, the action eventually takes over and drives the story, pushing Raimi into full-on visual storytelling. It’s electric from start to finish and creates its own fuel, Ash takes this quite literally and uses his old high school chemistry textbook to make gunpowder for the fight against the deadites. Raimi is not inventing the wheel again, he’s turning “Evil Dead” into an action-horror film set in medieval times. He knows where these characters work, how they work, how they play with one another, or more accurately, how Bruce Campbell plays with everyone. “Army” doesn’t feel like your traditional “third movie” in a franchise, it seems alive, wanting to continue while simultaneously not needing another movie, a note that should be taken more in Hollywood.
“Army of Darkness” Trailer
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