Army of Darkness might be the movie of the trilogy that I’ve seen the most. I remember seeing the VHS box when I was really young, but I didn’t see it until a bit later. I rented this without knowing anything about the previous movies until the third viewing on the first weekend when I first rented it. My cousin Greg told me that it was part of a series, and that helped me remember seeing a little of Evil Dead 2 previously. I went to rent the other movies and love them. Army of Darkness continues the shifting nature of the franchise. It is an action comedy with some splatter elements to it. Splatter is the most consistent element of the franchise a whole.
Army of Darkness was directed by Sam Raimi. It was written by Sam and Ivan Raimi. It stars Bruce Campbell, Embeth Davidtz, Marcus Gildbert, Ted Raimi, and Ian Abercrombie. Bruce Campbell gets to play both Good Ash and Bad Ash. Bad Ash is a heavily prosthetic based role. This version of Ash is basically the final version that people really think of. A goofy, smooth talking, one liner dropping lady’s man. I didn’t realize that the woman that played Sheila was the same person that played Miss Honey, so when I learned that it was a little bit of a shock.
Army of Darkness opens with another retelling of the first movie. It sticks with the simplified version from the previous movie. It also has a bit of a retcon of the ending of Evil Dead 2, with them being less friendly to Ash. Lord Arthur takes Ash prisoner with Henry the Red and his soldiers. Through a bunch of mess that happens, Ash is proven to be the Promised One. He is chosen to get the Necronomicon so that he can brought back to his own time, while also sealing away the evil. Ash gets a fancy medieval robot hand. Ash has to take shelter in a windmill which leads to my favorite part in the movie. Ash is attacked by tiny evil versions of himself. He is forced to swallow one of the evil clones which leads to it growing out of him. Ash ends up killing the evil version that grew out of him. He also dismembers and buries him. He messes up getting the book which leads to the army of the dead coming to life to retrieve the book. Evil Ash comes back to life to lead the army. After his new girlfriend is captured, Ash decides to stay and fight. Through a big battle, in which Henry the Red turns the tide, Ash protects the book and finally finishes off Evil Ash. Ash returns to his time, but he messed everything up so the evil is still around. Once again, I implore you to watch the movie if you haven’t. This synopsis is not great and jumps around.
The effects in Army of Darkness are great. The only things that don’t look great are some bits with either blue or green screen. The sizing is the only part of that that looks bad. All of the practical effects look absolutely amazing even still. The stop motion in the movie also looks good. The book went through another redesign, and it looks even better in this. It looks like an actual book that you could read if you wanted to, though it would be advised not to. Joseph LoDuca did most of the music. Danny Elfman wrote the “March of the Dead”. All of the music is great and the Elfman song doesn’t standout too much either.
Army of Darkness is so fun. It might be the most fun of the first three movies. You can just jump into it without having seen either of the previous movies, having seen the other movies just helps you enjoy it more. Its currently streaming on HBO Max. I give Army of Darkness 9.5 evil books out of 10.