Directed by Brian Yuzna
Produced by Julio Fernandez
Written by Jose Manuel Gomez
Director of Photograpy Andreu Rebes
Music by Xavi Capellas
Cast: Jeffrey Combs, Jason Barry, Elsa Pataky & Simon Andreu
2003/95 mins/Color/5.1 DD
1.85:1 anamorphic/English/Spain/NTSC Region 1
Review from the Lions Gate Home Entertainment DVD
You've got to hand it to Brian Yuzna. For nearly twenty years now, this writer/producer/director has been working in the horror genre and continues to be dedicated to turning out gory fright flicks. And with his recent creation of the Spanish-based Fantastic Factory studio, Yuzna has an outlet to continue this devotion to horror. The problem is that Yuzna's films aren't always all that good. A case-in-point is the newly released BEYOND RE-ANIMATOR.
BEYOND RE-ANIMATOR opens in an undisclosed time, which is presumably after BRIDE OF RE-ANIMATOR. A zombie attacks a suburban family and a young woman is killed. Dr. Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) arrives on the scene and is promptly arrested and taken away. A young boy, Howard, observes his sister's death, and as West is carted off, Howard finds a syringe filled with a growing, green liquid.
The story then jumps ahead 13 years. West has been incarcerated and continues to conduct his bizarre experiments on the rats that he finds in prison. The Warden, (Simon Andreu) is an evil, domineering man, who rules over his prisoners. Howard (Jason Barry), now grown, arrives at the prison as the new doctor. Howard has chosen this prison in particular, as he wants to meet and work with West. West jumps at the chance to begin his experiments in a real lab again, and begins to work with Howard. A reporter, Laura (Elsa Pataky), comes to the prison to interview the Warden, and sparks fly between her and Howard. As Howard grows obsessed with his work with West, Laura begins to investigate West's past. Along with West's old experiments with bringing the dead back to life, he has also created a new theory which can put the "life-force" back into re-animated bodies. The Warden and Laura both begin to check up on Howard and West's experiments, and the secrets that they uncover leads to an insane orgy of death.
RE-ANIMATOR is one of the greatest horror films ever, and to this day, there haven't been many films which have topped it's over-the-top, gonzo horror theatrics. Thusly, any sequel will suffer in comparison. With BRIDE OF RE-ANIMATOR, Yuzna (taking over the writing/directing from Stuart Gordon), took the film in an almost comedic direction, and the inclusion of a head which flies with bat-wings put the film into its own genre. BEYOND RE-ANIMATOR is a hybrid of the first and second films, as it attempts to incorporate grotesque imagery with some very black humor.
The problem with BEYOND RE-ANIMATOR is that there is nothing new here. West is still determined to bring people back from the dead, and Howard is merely a stand-in for the Dan Cain from the first two films. So, people die, West re-animates them, and things go wrong. The Warden is a poor substitute for Dr. Hill, and the Laura character has no depth whatsoever. The prison setting is very limiting and it's clear that the script would love to have West be able to move around more, that budget constraints kept that from happening. To be fair, BEYOND RE-ANIMATOR does have some fun, gory moments, and if you can suspend your disbelief, the finale is entertaining. Still, the film is merely a pale-imitation of RE-ANIMATOR and is therefore doomed to be disappointing.
BEYOND RE-ANIMATOR rises from the grave to DVD courtesy of Lions Gate Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The image is sharp and clear, showing only trace amounts of grain. There are some noticeable white marks on the picture during the film, but these only appear intermittently. The movie is quite dark, but the action is always visible on this transfer, and the green re-animation fluid looks great. The DVD carries a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which is quite good. The dialogue is sharp and clear, and there is a very nice use of surround sound and bass-response, which adds ambiance to the terror scenes. The only drawback to the audio presentation is the undeniable fact that Laura's voice is dubbed.
The DVD contains a few extra features. We start with an audio commentary from director/producer Brian Yuzna. One must admire Yuzna's candor, as he exclaims, "This credit sequence is better than the movie!" That subtle truth aside, Yuzna goes on to talk about the film's production, specifically why he waited so long to make a third film in the series and how shooting in Spain affected the production. The DVD also has a 17-minute "Making of" featurette which contains interviews with the cast & crew and a great deal of behind-the-scenes footage. The theatrical trailer for BEYOND RE-ANIMATOR is here, and it's been letterboxed at 1.85:1. Rounding out the extras is a music video for a song entitled "Move Your Dead Bones". The credits for this video were in Spanish, so I don't know who the artist is, but the song is a Euro-dance number, which doesn't fit the gory images from the film which accompany the music. Things get even weirder when the singer is joined by a group of dancers. Now this needed audio commentary!
This Film Features:
Review by Mike Long. All Right Reserved. 2003. ©