Director: Brian Yuzna
Stars: Jeffrey Combs, Tommy Dean Musset, Jason Barry
Reviewed by Brian M. Sammons
It’s the third and long awaited sequel to one of the best slices of over-the-top 80s horror, Re-Animator. It has Jeffrey Combs back in his most iconic role. It’s directed by the producer of the first film and the director of the second one that was okay, but not great. And because of financial reasons it is shot in Spain, doubling for the US, so pretty much everyone but Combs has a very noticeable accent; however that’s never addressed. Now this movie is 15 years old and it’s got a new Blu-ray release from Lionsgate’s Vestron Video Collector’s Series, is it worth a get? Well, grab your syringe of glowing green goo and let’s find out.
We start off with a really impressive practical effect standing in for one of Doctor Herbert West’s latest experiments in reanimation. This leads to the good doctor’s arrest and incarceration. So about 85 percent of this movie takes place in a prison, but if you think that will get in the way of Dr. West and his obsession with “curing” death, then you don’t know Herbie. Here we get introduced to a lot of colorful convicts, a new assistant for the good doctor, a pretty love interest for that assistant (since West’s only love is science), and an evil control freak prison warden. There’s a pet rat, a junkie that shoots up with re-animator juice, experiments a-go-go, a prison riot, and a severed penis that refuses to die.
The star of the show here is, of course, Jeffrey Combs and he is as fun to watch as always. Everyone else does good to passable work, with only a few actors devolving into scenery chewing distractions. Brian Yuzna’s direction has never really been strong, but it’s hasn’t been bad, either, and that can be said about this movie too. The special effects are well done, for the most part, and just like the original movie, the story swings from black humor to gross out and back again. Here it’s a bit more an uneven ride than before, but it is still a mostly enjoyable one.
On to the extra goodies on this new Vestron Video Collector’s Series Blu-ray. There is an audio commentary with director Brian Yuzna and an isolated score with an audio interview with composer Xavier Capellas. There is an interview with director Yuzna that’s nearly 19 minutes in length, and an interview with the always-entertaining Jeffrey Combs that’s over 20 minutes long. There is a vintage making-of featurette that’s 17 minutes and then a techno-dance music video for “Move your Dead Bones” by someone named Dr. Reanimator. Uh-huh. Lastly there’s a production art gallery, still gallery, theatrical trailer, and international trailer. Nice.
Beyond Re-Animator is a good film, not a great one, but a solid, enjoyable, goretastic good flick. It is well worth to get just to see Jeffrey Combs play the icy Dr. Herbet West one last time. I hope it’s not the last, but if it is, Combs proved that he still has it and then some and it’s a good enough way for the series to ride off into the sunset. It has decent special effects, workmanlike direction by Yuzna, excellent acting by Combs, and reanimated penis monsters. Oh my. Get this Blu-ray when it comes out July 24.