Army of Darkness (Blu-ray)
Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Bruce Campbell, Embeth Davidtz, Marcus Gilbert, Ian Abercrombie, Richard Grove, Timothy Patrick Quill
Directed by Sam Raimi
Distributed by Universal Home Video
The original Evil Dead may very well be one of the best damned demon in the woods films ever made. It's a splatterific terror fest that is at times nothing short of unrelenting. Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn just kind of confused people, and to this very day fans still argue about whether it was a sequel or a remake. *cough* remake *cough* Dead by Dawn, though it is much beloved, never really did it for me. I missed the gore and the fright of the original. Slapstick and horror rarely mix well, but for what it's worth Raimi, did do a great job blending the two. Then came the third chapter in this saga, also known as Bruce Campbell vs. The Army of Darkness. I'll probably take heat for saying so, but this flick kind of sucks.
Picking up right after Evil Dead 2, Ash has been sucked back into time to do battle with the Deadites during medieval days. Along the way on his quest to get back to S-Mart, he meets his evil self, wizards, babes, legions of skeleton soldiers, and demonic imps of himself. Though rife with imagination, Army of Darkness sails the sea of cheese right down into Stupidville. It's just never as funny, or as clever, as it thinks it is. Campbell is at his hammiest, there's barely any violence at all, and the effects range from decent to "Oh my god, did they just really give me a close-up of a guy in a fright mask?" I love Raimi. I love Campbell. I just don't get the love for this flaccid little film.
One thing's for certain ... Army of Darkness on Blu-ray has never looked or sounded better. Amazing in fact. I'd hazard to say this is one of the best high-def transfers I've seen yet. The picture is sharp, vivid, and miles better than any of its DVD cousins. Seriously, if you're a fan of this flick that has seen it dozens of times, your jaw will be on the floor. Now if only SOMEONE would release the original Evil Dead onto Blu-ray so we could have the trifecta!
But the good news stops there. This "Screwhead" edition is nearly bare bones. Nowhere in sight is the longer (and better) director's cut, and the same goes for just about all of the past special features with the exception of some less than stellar production photos that you can access via U-Control and the alternate ending. We do get one new featurette, though, which happens to also be in HD, Creating the Deadites. This short bit of goodness features Howard Berger and Greg Nicotero waxing on about the film's effects and their obvious love for Ray Harryhausen and his work. Good but too little, too late.
My advice? If the 1080p presentation of this film is what gets you hot, then break out the credit card. Everyone else may want to hold on to their past DVDs that feature the director's cut and a wealth of special features.
2 1/2 out of 5
2 1/2 out of 5
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