By Brett Mullins
Directed by Sam Raimi; Written by Sam and Ivan Raimi
Army of Darkness is the third and final entry in the Evil Dead trilogy.
The story begins as Ash, the only character to survive the first films, finds himself trapped in the Middle Ages. The only way to return to his time is through the power of the Necronomicon, which brought him there in the first place. Ash is originally mistaken for an enemy and is sentenced to death by a deadite (evil spirits that have possessed a body). Ash surprises his captors with the clever use of his chainsaw hand and defeats the enemy. The kingdom recognizes Ash as the chosen one to rescue the book the deliver the people from evil.
This film makes quite a departure from the style that made the first two films successful opting to employ a fantasy adventure style, rather than a claustrophobic possession film. This is not to say that the film does not contain disturbing moments; however, they are few and far between. The film better resembles a standard medieval siege comedy than an Evil Dead film.
Once again, Bruce Campbell returns as Ash, who is now a battle hardened veteran. This performance features much less moments of tension that exemplify his talents as an actor and many more one liners and other mediocre humor tactics.
Considering the similarities between the first two films, it is interesting to note the drastic shift in direction with this film. The only scene that resembles the style of its predecessors is when Ash is trapped in a cabin and is attacked by a spirit.
This shift in style is accompanied by a shift in the enjoyment quality of the film. It’s unfortunate that such a wonderful series has a slightly above average conclusion.