Beyond Re-Animator (2003)
Directed by Brian Yuzna

Starring Angel Plana Bárbara Elorrieta Jason Barry Jeffrey Combs Tommy Dean Musset

In addition to all the blood and sex, one of the coolest things about the original "Re-Animator" was the cast. Combs, Barbara Crampton, Bruce Abbott and David Gale all delivered heart and style to their characters. While the first sequel, "Bride of Re-Animator," didn't have much of a good story, it did at least have most of this cast.

But "Beyond Re-Animator" only has Combs as Dr. Herbert West. The other key characters are replaced by Barry (taking over for Abbott), as a young doctor who hopes to be West's protégé, Elsa Pataky taking over for Crampton as the girlfriend who is predictably going to die, and Simon Andreu as the power-mad warden (taking over for the late Gale, who was a power-mad doctor in the first and second films). By the way, Andreu is a Spanish actor, and one of his last horror films was "The Blood Spattered Bride" in the early 1970s, where he played the husband.

The original "Re-Animator" was low budget, but had heart. "Beyond Re-Animator" is missing in the heart category. Combs also doesn't seem to be into his role very much.

But enough bashing: Here's what the flick is about. After being arrested following a disastrous reanimation experiment, West is incarcerated for 13 years. His experiments are only able to continue after the protégé character shows up, deeply interested in helping the aging West, even though the mad Frankenstein-type was responsible for the death of the legit young doc's own sister. This time, West has figured out a way of resurrecting the dead apparently without having the creatures turning into blood-thirsty homicidal maniacs. Pataky's reporter wanders around the prison looking for a big scoop, while the warden tries to make the moves on her.

Naturally, all hell breaks loose. It's pretty entertaining, gruesome fare – filmed in Spain but set in America. There's a disastrous blow-job scene that belongs in "Caligula", a stomach explosion, an eye pops out, a man without legs torments West, and a woman's breast is bitten. Yes, it's all pretty gruesome (and thankfully free of CGI) but doesn't carry the bite of what we saw in Part 1. "Beyond Re-Animator" is an example of Yuzna being mediocre . This director's work has varied from the sublime ("The Dentist") to the awful ("Faust"). This lies somewhere in between, more toward the good than the bad. But he's done better. It's not as good as Part 2 either, itself a flawed movie. Hopefully it will be the last entry in the franchise, unless Stuart Gordon can be brought back.

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-- Review by Lucius Gore

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