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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 24.52%
Average: 12.5%
Pretty Bad: 1.92%
Total Crap: 4.81%

9 reviews, 154 user ratings

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Army of Darkness
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by Jay Seaver

"It is and it isn't 'Evil Dead 3', and that's a good thing."
4 stars

You know, my brother said as we left a midnight showing of Army of Darkness. This really isn't a good movie when you think about it. Why have we memorized the damn thing?

And, really, he's right. The special effects are hokier than the dialogue, and star Bruce Cambpell chews, swallows, digests, and excretes the scenery. Though the director's cut available on DVD is better put together than the theatrical release, it still comes off as a series of strangely connected skits there. That it somehow comes together as pure fun is really a minor miracle.

Heck, I figure that it being made at all is a miracle. Consider: Sam Raimi had just come off a reasonably successful mainstream movie in Darkman, his first big-studio production, and what did he opt to do next? A third movie in the Evil Dead series - but one which is more slapstick comedy and Ray Harryhausen homage than horror, starring a department store employee trapped seven hundred years in the past. Sure, Evil Dead 2 had a lot of weird slapstick in it, but deep down it was mostly an action/horror movie. Army of Darkness is almost wall-to-wall jokes.

And yet, somehow it works, and works brilliantly. Maybe it's because director Sam Raimi (who co-wrote the movie with his brother Ivan) has been friends with star Bruce Campbell since high school, and thus knows exactly what the guy is capable of - which cheesy lines will be pure gold coming out of his mouth, and which would be cringe-inducing. It would be easy to scoff at how precisely Raimi and company hit all the right comic notes if not for the later follow-ups based on Campbell's Ash character that appeared when this movie became a video/cult hit - while I can't claim to have gotten far enough in the first videogame spinoff to discover whether the story/dialogue remains as wretched as the gameplay, the first couple issues of the "Army of Darkness: Ashes 2 Ashes" comic book has writer Andy Hartnell demonstrate that it ain't nearly as easy as Raimi makes it look when he tries to put new words in Ash's mouth. If New Line ever does get Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash off the ground, they need Raimi on the screenplay at some point.

Raimi's also very good with the visuals. Army of Darkness, like his other movies, features much more dynamic camerawork than was traditionally expected from a low-budget horror-comedy at the time this was made, and he knows how long to linger on something to make it seem cool. The final battle, when Bad Ash and his army of skeletons and reanimated corpses attacks the castle is a quality Great Big Battle Scene; it's good enough that Peter Jackson seems to have cribbed from it for the Battle of Helm's Deep in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.

This isn't to discount the job Bruce Campbell turns in as Ash (and his Evil Twin) - the guy has a gift for physical comedy perhaps only matched by Jim Carrey (I've heard that Campbell was up for the lead role in The Mask at one point) and also always matches the tone of the movie. In a way, Ash is a sort of idiot savant, lacking in social skills or much in the way of brains unless it's a matter of fighting demons - then, he can create himself a robotic hand out of materials found in 1300 AD, build a steam engine for his car, demonstrate perfect aim with his shotgun and be a leader of men. It's up to him to sell Ash as both badass and dumbass within the same scene, and that Ash somehow stands as a character rather than a plot contrivance is no small feat.

The other collaborators deserve notice, too - while few of the actors would go on to really notable careers (Campbell would peak the next year on Fox's The Adventures of Brisco County Junior; leading lady Embeth Davidtz would have a featured part in Schindler's List and then fade away), D.P. Bill Pope would become one of Hollywood's most in-demand cinematographers, perhaps most notably working on the Matrix films. Strangely, composer Joseph LoDuca never really took off afterward - he spent the next decade working on TV shows for Raimi and producer Robert Tapert's production company, then went to France to score Brotherhood of the Wolf, and hasn't done much else of note. Considering how great some of the cues in this movie are (such as the opening), I can't figure out why Raimi didn't hire him for the Spider-Man movies as opposed to Danny Elfman (who contributes a "March of the Dead" to the score).

So, anyway, I love this movie, even though at first glance it seems to have very little going for it.

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originally posted: 10/31/04 10:06:56
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User Comments

10/30/16 morris campbell nice effects thats about it stick with the first two 2 stars
9/03/12 Courtney Fun to watch zombie/undead film full of quotable one-liners. 3 stars
11/27/11 joshuaprater1979 Super movie! 5 stars
7/18/11 Flipsider The 1st half is a masterpiece, the 2nd half not so much. Overall great flick! 4 stars
8/05/10 Dr.Lao Most fun I've had watching a movie in a long time 4 stars
11/04/08 Fabby People who don't like this movie take life too seriously. 5 stars
8/19/08 Shaun Wallner This movie was Awesome!! Loved It. 5 stars
7/13/08 Alex Spivey wonderful comedy 5 stars
7/13/08 Evil Dead Ed The best action/horror/comedic performance by Bruce Campbell ever! 5 stars
6/25/08 Nate The most fantastic dose of retardism available on film - you love to love it 5 stars
3/02/08 John Millheim Ah, you got to love this dvd, i love it 5 stars
3/02/08 Pamela White nothing to write home about maybe if I'm high it would be funny 2 stars
2/07/08 Dan T. coolest movie ever, i saw it dubbed in italian for the first time, english for the past 20 5 stars
7/13/07 Justin While ED2 will always be my favorite, I prefer the chessy ED3 to the serious ED1.Good stuff 5 stars
5/18/07 addam morgan best movie and bruce is just the funny act on everything he has to be the best. 5 stars
2/03/07 Vip Ebriega Awesome "dead" flick. 4 stars
1/28/07 mets1986 Awesome 5 stars
1/27/07 Ole Man Bourbon Maam, I'm gonna have to ask you to leave the store 5 stars
1/12/07 cam Pure entertainment, nothing more, nothing less. 4 stars
12/04/06 DasuberDing awesome super cheesyness in the vein of Monty Python! 5 stars
11/05/06 Radius Every one can agree that Bruce owns the movie screne, Thus he makes this movie to be awsome 5 stars
10/06/06 Pritchett The weakest of the three, but still a total blast. Shut up, Quigley, you twat-stain. 4 stars
9/07/06 matt probably the best movie ever made 5 stars
7/26/06 Quigley The worst piece of cinematic sewage ever made. too ridiculous to imagine. so, so, so bad 1 stars
5/10/06 omar not good, not bad. its just there 3 stars
4/21/06 Becky Funny and awesome. Who can't laugh during the graveyard scene? 5 stars
3/02/06 chris f quite good worth a watch 4 stars
1/03/06 cody a different sequel than part 2, good thrilling story , bruce is awesome and only for a fan 3 stars
11/25/05 Agent Sands Not as good as Evil Dead 2, but still good. Great reference to Day the Earth Stood Still. 4 stars
11/25/05 chris a very good sequel 5 stars
7/12/05 Burt Ward Funnyc clever, and badass. The best one in the whole trilogy. 5 stars
6/10/05 JD Really funny movie, excellent! 5 stars
6/07/05 Anthony G Bruce campbell is the FUCKING MAN! 5 stars
6/03/05 Steevil Dead My Favorite Movie Of All time!(take that Citizen Kane!) 5 stars
5/31/05 The Hitman Great, Greater, THE GREATEST! Pure fun! Campbell and Raimi rule 5 stars
3/23/05 indrid cold Very unscary and unfunny. Why do people like this movie? 2 stars
2/13/05 Matt Fekete Cult classic. Hilarious. Great leading Man. 5 stars
2/06/05 Tom Benton A cool, very funny follow-up to "Evil Dead II"; Bruce Campbell is God. 4 stars
1/20/05 Laurian Diaconescu If you don't like it, "run home and cry to mama!" MUAHAHAHA! Awesome humor! 5 stars
11/28/04 luke brilliant 5 stars
11/09/04 B AoD owns, ED 2 is better though 5 stars
11/03/04 Al Guy Bruce Campbell makes it work. 4 stars
11/02/04 Chaz Check out the directors cut! 5 stars
8/21/04 Josh Standlee The movie is just plain fun! And that's all we really need, right? 5 stars
8/02/04 Anthony G dead next door is a faggot hippie, who likes blackman creampies 5 stars
5/05/04 dead next door dont like it anymore. 1 stars
5/01/04 Gray groovy 5 stars
2/14/04 Kurt White This movie is a classic and with good reason; it ROCKS! 5 stars
2/02/04 Rocko KICKS ASS 5 stars
1/26/04 Eric This could be a t.v. show.But it wouldn't work without Bruce 4 stars
1/26/04 American Slasher Goddess Watchable, but the weakest of the series. 3 stars
1/12/04 Dylan Long This movie KICKS ASS! 5 stars
12/30/03 Samuel "Your only leading two things, Jack and shit ..Jack left town!" 5 stars
11/19/03 Josh Standlee A groovy film! I love saying,"Hail to the king, baby!". Ash rules! 5 stars
11/16/03 AshFan Hey, Guy Smiley, was it? Come get some, you zit-faced she-bitch! 5 stars
10/29/03 R.W. Welch Loopy action-FX extravaganza, sometimes clever, sometimes just inane. 3 stars
9/05/03 Jonathan Horne Army of Darkness....well all i have to say is "gimmie some sugar baby!" 5 stars
8/28/03 Sigrid Excellent. 5 stars
8/26/03 Baz Wikidest B movie ever , da endings the best 5 stars
8/02/03 Jab This is the funniest film ever 5 stars
7/27/03 J Army of Darkness is not scary, its funny; even do it has cheap graphics. 4 stars
7/04/03 T3 It's true Bruce Campbell is the God of B movies..and the ending was the coolest. 5 stars
5/18/03 Gregor Purple Ass baboon Bruce Campbell is God 5 stars
4/17/03 Jon "Thumb the Toad" Lyrik Very, very funny. 4 stars
4/15/03 Matt Haynes Best Sequil in a long time. 5 stars
2/19/03 Ben Plank This is the best movie of all time!! 5 stars
2/03/03 Turtle Hands down the best of the Evil Dead trilogy. Totally awesome blend of horror and comedy. 5 stars
1/02/03 Ting A great movie. 5 stars
12/31/02 Bob Hardcore The ending is the coolest piece of B movie ever 5 stars
12/30/02 Crimson Matrix heh 3 stars
12/25/02 f*r*o*s*t*y I *heart* Bruce Campbell. 5 stars
9/25/02 Laurian Diaconescu Anyone with a good sense of humor would like this movie.Awesome work again,Campbell & Raimi 5 stars
9/20/02 snowconehead Anyone seen "Serving Sara" ? Just a reminder what he's capable of............ 5 stars
9/01/02 AshFan Bruce Campbell... sniff, sniff... thank you for another Ash fest!! 5 stars
8/28/02 Peace A.S. Gimme some sugar, baby! 5 stars
7/29/02 Captain Midol This has it all, blood, guts, demons, humor, violence, evil twins, and BRUCE! 5 stars
7/24/02 Caiphn Bruce!!!!!! 5 stars
5/30/02 Punk_Ass More fun that scary. Tons of attitude, one liners, and Bruce Campbell at his best. 5 stars
5/16/02 Dyl why are the reviewers so crap? this movie is the king, baby! 5 stars
4/09/02 Russell GROOOOVY 5 stars
4/01/02 Joe Schulz I am in a cult you know 5 stars
3/31/02 Rockitman007 Face it, this is a cult classic .......Give in 5 stars
3/26/02 Mack Man Groovy, but not as good as 2!!!!! 4 stars
2/28/02 Alan Smithee Groovy!!! (and be sure to stick with the theatrical cut.) 5 stars
1/29/02 Gracy Lionheart Evil Dead II is my fav, but this was the one that I saw first and got me hooked 5 stars
1/26/02 andy hysterical ... if you get it ... incredible directing 5 stars
1/24/02 Scott Boshardt If you don't get it, you don't get it. 5 stars
1/23/02 Andrew Carden It's Not Funny or Scary...just Really Dumb. 1 stars
1/22/02 The Bomb 69 6 reviews and 66 ratings before my entry, spooky!!! 5 stars
1/22/02 slipperyK the movie is one great one liner 4 stars
1/01/02 Tony the tiger with commentary by Steven the snake Man this rocks! 5 stars
12/15/01 Keith The whole trilogy kicks ass. This is great, although it is my least fav. of the series 5 stars
12/04/01 auroradae bruce campbell is god, hail to the king baby 5 stars
11/13/01 Caiphn Guy Smiley, what did you expect, tardboy? 5 stars
11/12/01 Kyle Evil Dead produces another good sequel! 5 stars
11/12/01 Gracy Lionheart Evil Dead II is still my fav...but this has a style all to itelf. I gotta love it. 5 stars
10/31/01 Shane Robert Myers!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Good but, its not like Evil dead 2... Oh well it still RRRRULES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
10/05/01 Axe Murderer Shop s-mart 5 stars
9/29/01 Palaboy despite what some of the reviewers said, it is a good and funny movie 4 stars
8/06/01 E-Funk The funniest of the series...I have to love it...but ED2 still reigns supreme. 5 stars
6/20/01 Dylan Love this film, wacked out and hilarious in the way that makes us remember this film. 5 stars
5/08/01 Movie good movie 5 stars
4/23/01 Alexandria Gehman Any one who can use "hail to the king baby" and get away with it deserves an oscar 5 stars
3/21/01 mr. char had its moments, but the evil e 4 stars
3/04/01 The Bomb 69 "you just got real ugly!!" It's meant to be chessy folks. 5 stars
2/21/01 Steve in Prague teen movie critic needs to be fired...GET A LIFE YOU ASSHOLE 5 stars
2/09/01 Dark Sol Three tumbs up... and the "sequels" are coming to an end. 5 stars
2/05/01 Wafer Most critics don't understand that the cheesiness is the comedy 4 stars
1/16/01 Jake LaMotta A movie that mocks itself 4 stars
1/03/01 fifu cheese to teh point you have to love it 5 stars
12/09/00 Guitarophile You just can't beat this flick for cool one-liners! 5 stars
10/29/00 whoami The perfect cheesy comedy! Gets even better the more you drink! 5 stars
10/26/00 durov it might be bad,but it feels soooo good! 5 stars
9/23/00 Add Listen up u primitive screwheads, this film delivers the sugar baby!!! 5 stars
6/27/00 Jester Yo! She bitch... lets go! 5 stars
5/30/00 Add Outstanding, if u like horror and u enjoy comedy then you'll luv this! 5 stars
5/19/00 spanky rules 5 stars
5/05/00 Dex1138 It doesn't get any better than Ash! 5 stars
4/25/00 John Lyons Bruce Campbell was great! Shop S-Mart! 5 stars
4/22/00 Epimetheus Absolutely, completely, astoundingly, Bad. And fucking hilarious. Cult classic. 5 stars
4/19/00 The Rock The Rock says do you like poontang pie? 5 stars
3/27/00 Luke Hail to the king baby 5 stars
3/11/00 Wyatt Earp You got real ugly... 5 stars
3/07/00 PhilmPhreak Gimme some sugar, baby! 5 stars
3/05/00 bullit17 Worth it just for Bruce Campbell. He saves it from total suck-assiness 3 stars
1/02/00 Nice Guy Eddie Absolutely hilarious when I saw it while drinking, not quite as good a second time sober. 4 stars
12/06/99 Chuck Baker How can anyone with a sense of humor NOT love this flick? Bruce Campbell kicks ass! 5 stars
12/03/99 Dr.Acula Fun, Campell is great,cheesy effects only make it better! 5 stars
10/22/99 Peter Hessler Hella funny shit man 5 stars
9/19/99 Mr.Man Damn, it's funny as hell. With some good action scenes. 5 stars
7/27/99 Eric The best horror-comedy ever made. Absolutely hilarious! Much better than Evil Dead 2. 5 stars
7/12/99 Starry Knight Groovy 5 stars
7/11/99 Josh Childs You have got to be kidding me, it's the best thing to hit Film!!! 5 stars
5/26/99 iyu The title should have stayed as "Medieval Dead". But a very _fun_ movie nonetheless. :D) 4 stars
5/22/99 XenoWolf It so friggin dumb its cool almost like a play on screen 4 stars
3/18/99 Max Bernstein worth watching twice. "gimme some sugar, baby" 4 stars
3/18/99 Madcap It was FUN...mindless, but FUN...I want one of those shotguns that never runs out of ammo.. 4 stars
3/05/99 Don Wilson This movie really kicks ass! 5 stars
2/19/99 charhas i loved it. It's cheezy, and not real high quality, but get drunk and laugh! 4 stars
1/25/99 YellerDog 2's better, though this is good as well. 5 stars
1/24/99 donkey_dew "Hail to the king baby." 5 stars
1/24/99 Jack One of my favorites of all time. Definately not for everyone. 4 stars
11/04/98 cyanide rush look this movie is just plain cool. all u wussies fuck off 5 stars
10/27/98 Silent Rob Not as bad as it seems, not as great as it wants to be. If only this were made in Hong Kong 4 stars
10/24/98 Vincent After a brilliant first two, the EVIL DEAD series falls flat on its ass 2 stars
10/24/98 grunter what is it with Campbell? He overacts BADLY and everygeek wants to suck his dick; whatever 1 stars
10/14/98 Chi-Fan Hu One funny ass movie 4 stars
9/29/98 Nate Dogg BRUCE CAMPBELL!!!!! 5 stars
9/26/98 Slabs This is one of my 'desert island' films!!! 5 stars
9/24/98 Jeff Hayward This is great! Nonstop action and terror! 5 stars
9/16/98 Negative Creep It's Bruce Campbell. HAIL TO THE KING, BABYˇ 5 stars
9/13/98 BBReBozo "eye poke" scene in the graveyard, a classic. Klatu Barata Niktastic! 5 stars
8/30/98 J-Guy (The MFC) it was all right. 3 stars
8/30/98 Johny Too bad it's not as good as the films it follows 5 stars
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  19-Feb-1993 (R)


  02-Feb-1994 (R)

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