Rewatched Jul 15, 2012
Josh Keown’s review:
"Good. Bad. I'm the guy with the gun."
-Ashley 'Ash' J. Williams (Bruce Campbell)
Funnily enough, the third outing from budget movie maestro’s Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell and the Evil Dead franchise, suffers somewhat because it tries to be different. Instead of using the dependable ‘cabin in the woods’ setup in the vein of the first two films, Evil Dead 3 (or Army of Darkness), translates the loopy Deadite madness to the Middle Ages, or 1300AD to be precise.
Our lovable rouge Ashley ‘Ash’ J. Williams is warped to a medieval castle beset by monstrous forces of eeeviiilll. He is revealed as a prophecised saviour who must embark on a quest for the Necronomicon (sounds familiar) which has the power to dispel the evil. Being the fool that he is, he jumbles up the magic words and unleashes the Evil Dead.
Unfortunately, this entry is the weakest in the trilogy. By this point in the series, the franchise has become almost too self-aware, to the point of being a parody of the previous entries. Raimi’s measured formula of genuine horror and hilarious comedy is regrettably tipped too far to one side, becoming more slapstick than a carefully mediated blend of the two genres. This is not to say, however, that this is a bad film, indeed the case is quite the opposite. Raimi and Campbell are still on sterling form once more with another excellent entry into their most successful franchise.
Although the suspense and gore of the first two films is at its most restricted this time round, it makes up for it in sheer amusement value. Campbell’s Ash is, by this entry, perhaps the most developed character in the genre, from his beginnings as a normal everyman to a fully-fledged, uncompromising, bad-arsed veteran by this instalment. Almost every line he utters is instantly quotable. His delivery of the character is pure perfection. Raimi manages to maintain the gleeful hilarity with another great script.
The special effects again are magnificent, with that stop-motion Harryhausen-esque aesthetic that worked before, and works excellently once more. There's even a nice cameo from Bridget Fonda. Overall, it's a more than able film, that just fails to reach the almost perfect insanity of its predecessors. Still, it manages to be a terrific flick in its own right.
VERDICT; Not as good as the previous two entries in the Evil Dead franchise, but still uproariously good fun. Worth the watch, though, if only for the spectacular Bruce Campbell, who really makes one of the greatest characters ever committed to cellular memory.
4/5 or 8/10