Beyond Re-Animator (2003)
Beyond Re-Animator (2003)

Genre: Sci-Fi Horror Running Time: 1 hr. 36 min.

Release Date: April 23rd, 2003 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Brian Yuzna Actors: Jeffrey Combs, Jason Barry, Elsa Pataky, Barbara Elorrieta, Simon Andreu, Santiago Segura, Enrique Arce, Raquel Gribler

 


 

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oung Howie Phillips has always been fascinated by morbid things. As a child, while camping in his backyard and showing off a sheep’s eyeball to his good friend, he becomes a witness to the murder of his teenage sister, Emily (Barbara Elorrieta), at the hands of a re-animated corpse (complete with a tongue wagging out of a hole created by its missing jaw). The man behind the monster is Dr. Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs), a neighbor with a checkered history of experimenting with bringing lifeless bodies back from the dead. Despite the trauma of the event, it’s not entirely unexpected when Howie grows up (played by Jason Barry) to become similarly intrigued with the preternatural notion of resurrection.

13 years after Emily’s death, West is still in a maximum security prison (condemned to death), though his confinement hasn’t interfered with his experiments – which he conducts in secret on the enormous rats that inhabit the “death house.” The warden (Simon Andreu) doesn’t believe in proper rehabilitation, but he does value his electric chair, which he readily shows off to visiting journalist Laura Olney (Elsa Pataky) – a conspicuously attractive woman far out of her element (though she matches an equally noticeable nurse in an eroticized outfit). When Phillips becomes a successful doctor, he specifically requests to do his residency at West’s facility, where his knowledge of institutional medicine can be combined with the mad scientist’s legendary re-animation serum for a zombie-generating good time.

In a matter of minutes, flesh is torn from unwitting jailers, froth bubbles from writhing cadavers, and blood sprays across every visible surface. With its new playground for man-eating maniacs, “Beyond Re-Animator” offers up an endless supply of unsympathetic victims to be slaughtered. And this film is certainly a splatterfest. With director/producer Brian Yuzna returning from previously helming the second part of the series (“Bride of Re-Animator”), there’s still a distinct sense of humor surrounding the violence – from a revived rat puppet, to the spontaneous devouring of that creature, to clever editing that juxtaposes various atrocities. A certain sadism also exists, as the script includes attempted rape, physical torture and abuse, and cold-blooded murder. But it’s all done in the name of science.

In sensational exploitation movie form, Yuzna and crew further add sex scenes, prison riots, twisted research trials, possessed appendages, nipple biting (and penis severing, before “Piranha” made such things fashionable), exploding torsos, and Combs’ deliriously funny expressions (as if he’s a comedic Hannibal Lecter). The pacing is off, while many of the scenes could use some polishing, but the ideas nicely expand upon those seen in the previous two chapters. None of it can top the brilliancy of the original, however, even if the special effects are updated and the gore is more elaborate. By the end of it all, it’s evident that this really should have been entitled “Bride of Re-Animator,” and that for a much sharper close to the series, it should have had its best ideas merged with its predecessor.

– Mike Massie

  • 6/10