Thursday, 25 May 2017

Review: Beyond Re-Animator (2003)

Stars: Jeffrey Combs, Jason Barry

Budget: 3 Million

Directed By: Brian Yuzna

The Re-Animator series is one of the greats, mostly done by brilliant comedy horror director Brian Yuzna these like the ROTLD series have all his usual tongue in cheek schlock horror tropes. These include surreal moments and incredible gore filled, yet funny moments. Much like other films in it's time and genre like the Evil Dead series.

This series is based on HP Lovecraft's books chronicling the misadventures of one Dr Herbert West. A man obsessed with death and the prevention of it happening.

If you've seen any of the others his plans never go to well as his reanimating solution never seems to fully bring back full cognitive ability in his subjects. This often means the dead come back as anything from dangerous psychos to gibbering wrecks.

The first film is definitely a cult favourite and the second a very decent follow up in a lot of respects, this however is the distant cousin of sequels. Not so far removed that is changes to much or even replaces key characters but its 13 year gap, small budget, poor writing and only Combs returning make this a very unneeded sequel just to cash in on the name and star.
Not that this film is incredibly bad it just doesn't take the series anywhere other than oh more experimentation. Although despite this it is great to see Jeffery back as West and if you like the others you will like this, So lets get on with the movie.

West has been serving in prison for the past 13 years, nice see they bridge that gap!
Despite this and using any ingredients he can scavenge he is still managing to create enough of his serum to do little experiments on rats.
Despite this he has discovered something new in his research, a sort of energy that can be extracted from a living person. This energy is electric in nature so can be stored in something like a light bulb (which he does in this film). Though this puzzles me, you have to kill two people to one for the reanimation subject the other to extract this life force energy.
Then you reanimate the one person and use the stored energy to bring them back to ALMOST human levels. That right not even this way makes the dead come back to 100% close but still not full.

A new doctor Howard Phillips (HP get it?) (Barry) gets assigned to work the infirmary in the hospital, West with his experience (and the fact the doctor knows of his studies) gets to work with him. This enables West to increase his levels of experimentation.
We also learn that Phillips sister was a casualty of the original experiments and has been looking to work with West for a long time. It's also around this time a reporter, Laura, doing a paper on the prison meets Phillips and starts seeing him, unfortunately the prison warden also has a infatuation with her. Ultimately though his infatuation leads to him almost raping her and killing her when she resists his advances.

Phillips was initially reluctant to give West full experimental capability, now distraught over the death of Laura. West attempts to bring Laura back to life using the new technique and his serum though as soon as we see the human side of this it's clear there is still problems even using both of his techniques.
The prison warden discovers this too, so in true West form he kills the bastard. Then promptly resurrects him but uses a rats life force thing NPE i think it's called Neuro or nano plasmic energy. I haven't watched this for a while to remember that clearly!

Quickly everything descends into madness as usual in these films as phials of Wests serum is being distributed around the prison, i think they think its a drug. You should know what happens to live people who take the serum from the past movies.
As people start dying and resurrecting a big old riot breaks out in the prison forcing more death and gore to descend upon the populace. Laura gets decapitated along the way leaving Phillips even more distraught and a wreck.

So there's not much left to film after this and Beyond is just ok enough for me not to spoil the very end for you. If you love the first movies you'll like maybe even appreciate this third film in the franchise, I do love them and so to loved the chance to see more work from Combs and Yuzna who I both adore for their work in their areas. THN awards Beyond Re-Animator with a mediocre 3 out of five stars with a watch if your fan or there's nothing else on TV/Streaming etc.

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