Army of Darkness
Film: Army of Darkness
Director: Sam Raimi
Writer: Sam Raimi and Ivan Raimi
Starring: Bruce Campbell, Embeth Davidtz and Marcus Gilbert
This film begins with a voice-over narration of the main character Ash, who is played by Bruce Campbell. We learn that he is currently a slave in the 1300s. He didn’t start out like this though. We learn that he is from future and he took his girlfriend, who is played by Bridget Fonda, to a cabin in the woods. The problem though is that an archeologist used this house to research the Necronomicon, translated to the book of the dead. He fills us in with what was important from the previous film. Fonda is taken, the dark force gets into his hand and he cuts it off. He has rigged a chainsaw to fit to his stump. A portal then opens sending him, a shotgun, his chainsaw and his car into the past.
When he arrives, he meets some soldiers on horseback. Their leader is Marcus Gilbert. He consults his advisor, who is played by Ian Abercrombie. This wiseman thinks that Campbell is there to save them from things called the Deadites. Gilbert takes this as he is one of his rival’s men. His rival is also in captivity with Campbell, played by Richard Grove.
They are taken to Gilbert’s castle. Inside of the city we meet a young woman; she is played by Embeth Davidtz. She asks Gilbert about her brother, who we learn has died in the battle from the previous night. She takes this out on Campbell.
The slaves are taken to a pit. The first man thrown in begins screaming and then a fountain of blood shoots out of the pit. Another man tries to flee, but Gilbert kills him with a crossbow. It is then Campbell’s turn. He tries to talk his way out of it, but Davidtz hits him with a rock and he is pushed into the pit.
He fights against a creature played by Billy Bryan. Abercrombie shows up and throws Campbell his chainsaw. With it, he cuts Bryan in half. Gilbert can see that Campbell has an upper hand and calls for the spike wall of the pit to close. Campbell is then attacked by a creature that comes from the wall, played by Shiva Gordon. He cuts off one of Gordon’s hands and then uses his belt to get out of the pit. The spikes close on the creature.
Gilbert then calls for a duel with Campbell. He draws his sword, but Campbell blows off the end with his shotgun. He tells the people what it is; referring to it has his ‘boomstick’. He then uses it to kill Gordon, who has made it out of the pit. Campbell then tells them that they need to discuss sending him back to his time.
He is treated like a king, while Gilbert looks on. Davidtz even shows him affection, but Campbell ignores her. Abercrombie comes and tells Campbell that he can send him back, but he needs to journey to recover the Necronomicon, because without it, he doesn’t know the spell. Campbell is against this. A woman in the room spills the mixture that she was brewing.
This is a possessed witch played by Patricia Tallman. She tells Campbell that he will not recover the book. She then falls, but she is pretending to be dead. Campbell battles her, killing her with his shotgun. Campbell agrees to go on the journey.
Before he goes, he enlists the aid of Timothy Patrick Quill, the local blacksmith. Together they make him a metal hand from a suit of armor. Davidtz watches on. The night before he leaves they finally have a romantic moment. The following morning, Abercrombie tells Campbell words that he must recite exactly or he will wake the Deadites. Campbell blows him off, only worrying about getting the book and getting home.
His journey is not easy. The same force that plagued him in the future chases him in the past. He seeks refuge in a windmill. There is a mirror that he breaks upon arriving; knowing nothing good can come from it. He is right. Four miniatures of him attack. They end up tying him down and he swallows one. He kills it by drinking hot water. This is a bad idea as he grows a head from his shoulder and it splits into a good and bad Ash.
Campbell kills the bad version, cuts it up and buries it. The head is still alive as he does and he warns him that he will not get the book. He states that he will die before he can recover it.
He then does get to the cemetery. After he figures out which book is right, he forgets the last word he needs to say. He takes the book and is attacked by skeletons in the cemetery. He has awakened the Deadites and doomed the people he is supposed to be helping. Evil Ash also wakes up, becoming the leader of the Army of Darkness.
Will Gilbert’s people be able to stop this army? Will Campbell stand by them and help or will he go back to his time like he was promised? Can this army even be stopped?
I have to say that I loved watching this movie growing up. This movie to me has a great blend of horror and comedy. Campbell is great in his role, as that macho, jerk, hero, which is different from the first film of the series. He has a lot of great one-liners in this film and there are even more throughout by others. I love the concept of this film and the story as well. It might be a little bit outrageous, but that is what makes it great. I think the creatures in this film look good and even though they don’t always look real, they make up for what happens on screen.
With it being part comedy and as outrageous as it is, there are some things that are not realistic. You do have to come to expect it though out of a film like this. Like how many shotgun shells did Campbell bring into the past? How is he working the chainsaw on his arm? We could not make fake limbs and hands until after this film was made, but he constructed one in the 1300s? If you ignore these facts and just enjoy this film, then I think you will have fun. I mean it is absurd that a man would go into the past to begin with.
With that said, I would highly recommend this film. I would not say to come into this one expecting to be scared. If that is what you want, I would recommend Evil Dead or its sequel. This one is more of a comedy. The action though is good, the horror elements are great, the acting is solid and this is just a fun film to watch. It is kind of absurd if you look at it realistically, but a film like this needs to just be enjoyed.
My Rating: 8 out of 10