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‘Black Friday’: The Good News Is It Includes Bruce Campbell, the Bad News Is That It’s Not Very Good

Even with Bruce Campbell, 'Black Friday' lacks that 'groovy' edge.

By MovieBabblePublished 3 years ago 3 min read
Screen Media Films

Adding Bruce Campbell to your cast will automatically attract any genre enthusiast. The man is a legend, possibly one of the most charismatic men on the planet. A man so charismatic, I’m seriously considering watching an upcoming Hallmark movie just because he’s in it. I know it’s going to suck, but hey, it’s got Bruce Campbell! At the very least, I can admire his chin for 90 minutes.

Now if your film happens to be a horror-comedy, co-starring Bruce Campbell, you know Evil Dead fans will line up to see it. Having Bruce Campbell in your horror film gives it credibility and even opens the door for cult notoriety.

But having an icon in your film also has an obvious disadvantage. It conjures up the awesomeness of the performer’s persona, which can lead to the viewer having some high expectations. In other words, you need to deliver.

Which brings us to Black Friday. Like many Evil Dead fans, the only reason I’ve even glanced at this film is because of Campbell’s involvement. Though the rest of the cast shouldn’t be dismissed.

Besides Campbell, there’s Devon Sawa. Sawa has made a sort of renaissance of late, such as starring in the unforgettable grisly, Hunter, Hunter, and even having a double role in the current Chucky TV series.

Next to Sawa, there’s Ivana Baquero, who at ten years old, starred in Guillermo Del Toro’s classic, Pan’s Labyrinth. Finally, there’s martial arts thespian, Michael Jai White, who despite appearing in more than his fair share of subpar direct-to-video fodder, always retains his dignity — and like many, I’m still waiting for that Black Dynamite sequel.

Black Friday opens with something crashing down in an undisclosed mall. A mall worker takes a closer and sees that it’s some weird, pulsating goo, possibly of extraterrestrial origin. We quickly see that anyone who comes near it becomes infected and is turned into a ravenous zombie.

We focus on a group of mall workers who are working during the titular Black Friday. There’s Ken (Sawa), a fun-loving divorced dad with a slight alcohol problem; Marnie (Baquero), who often flirts with the much older Ken; Chris (Ryan Lee), a twenty-something agoraphobic who still lives with his parents; Brian, (Stephen Peck), the effeminate but strict assistant store manager); Ruth (Ellen Colton), the senior citizen who makes your casual racist remarks; Archie (Jai White), who looks like he could kick your ass; and finally there’s the store manager, Jonathan (Bruce Campbell), a true company man if there ever was one.

Once the deadly threat infects customers and mall workers alike, the survivors have to band together. But as goes with many such tales, oftentimes the worst threat aren’t the monsters, but humanity itself.

Like many Evil Dead fans, I’m still a little disgruntled with the cancellation of Ash vs. the Evil Dead. One hopes that with his presence in a zombie-themed horror film, that Campbell will show us some shades of the bumbling chainsaw-wielding hero, Ash Williams.

But if you’re hoping for an unofficial Evil Dead spin-off, you’ll sadly be disappointed. Bruce Campbell plays a completely different character than the boomstick-wielding hero we all know and love. The movie makes this point distinctly when a character, during a life-and-death scuffle with a zombie, requests the help of Campbell’s character. In your average Ash Williams adventure, Campbell would take care of this zombie single-handedly, but here, he can only assist by throwing a weapon to the character while hiding from a safe distance.

But it’s still Bruce Campbell. Even while looking like the dorkiest office manager you could think of, bowtie and all, there’s no way he could hide that charisma. Without blind fanfare, it’s hard to deny that Campbell is the best thing in this movie. He perks up any scene he’s in. If the occasional comedic beat works, it’s because of Campbell’s natural timing.

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READ THE REST OF THIS REVIEW ON OUR WEBSITE: https://moviebabble.com/2021/11/30/black-friday-the-good-news-is-it-includes-bruce-campbell-the-bad-news-is-that-its-not-very-good/

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