Beyond Re-Animator finds Dr. Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) serving a lengthy prison sentence after his former assistant turned states evidence on him. Not one to let a little thing like incarceration stand in his way, the good doctor is hard at work hammering out the bugs in his reanimation process. Aided by the new prison physician (Jason Barry), Dr. West comes to believe that he can bring the dead back to life with increased cognition and better brain function in his subjects. What could go wrong?
Jeffrey Combs is as good as ever in this third outing in the Re-Animator series. The actor possesses pitch perfect comedic timing and the ability to convey an entire paragraph’s worth of words in a single facial expression. Unfortunately, most of the supporting characters are wooden and unnatural. Jason Barry is serviceable as prison doctor Howard Phillips. But Elsa Pataky is almost laughably bad as Dr. Phillips’ love interest. She makes a valiant effort at suppressing her accent but she is never quite successful.
With that said, the effects are the real star of the show by the third installment in a lot of horror franchises and they certainly don’t disappoint here. Screaming Mad George and company pulled off some absolutely mind-blowing FX sequences for a film made on a somewhat modest budget. Viewers are treated to everything from half of a human body scampering around the prison to a rat engaging in battle with a severed penis. You can’t make this stuff up. Well, the screenwriters of the film actually did. But, I certainly couldn’t.
The threequel is noteworthy for advancing the storyline of the series. Dr. West finds a way to reanimate subjects back to something similar to their original state of being, rather than as rabid zombie-like creatures. The storyline doesn’t necessarily work all that well but it deserves credit for covering new ground and I suppose it beats a rehash of what we’ve already seen.
The first Re-Animator was midnight movie gold. It brilliantly spilled buckets of blood with a wicked sense of humor and a definite link to its source material. But this third installment in the series jumps the shark a bit. Sending Herbert West to prison feels a little bit like sending the Leprechaun to space. Sure, it’s different, but is it the best direction the franchise could have gone in? Probably not.
You have some of the makings of a great B-movie here but Beyond Re-Animator never quite lives up to its potential. The third act is a balls-to-the-wall good time but the first sixty minutes slog along at a dull pace and leave the audience waiting for something to happen.
This Blu-ray release of Beyond Re-Animator probably isn’t for casual fans of the film. But, there’s a lot here for the die-hard enthusiast looking for the definitive word on the film. The Vestron release contains a collection of retrospective interviews, director’s commentary, still galleries, an isolated score track, original EPK footage, the original trailer, an international trailer, and more. Like every other Vestron re-release to date, the studio has outdone themselves. The picture and sound quality are the best available for any release of this feature and the bonus content is second to none.
If you’re interested in picking up a copy, the special edition Blu-ray is now available through most major retailers.
Director(s): Brian Yuzna
Writer(s): José Manuel Gómez, Miguel Tejada-Flores, and Brian Yuzna (uncredited)
Stars: Jeffrey Combs, Jason Barry, and Elsa Pataky
Release: July 24, 2018 (Blu-Ray)
Studio/ Production Co: Vestron, LionsGate
Budget: $3 Million (estimated)