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Beyond Re-Animator

Helmer Brian Yuzna shows there's life in old schlock yet with "Beyond Re-Animator," third in a series which began in 1985. Hemoglobin-heavy fare is sometimes shocking but rarely scary, and pic sprints from one gross-out moment to the next in a way calculated to appeal only to hardcore gore hounds.

With:
With: Jeffrey Combs, Jason Barry, Elsa Pataky, Enrique Arce, Simon Andreu, Santiago Segura. (English dialogue)

Helmer Brian Yuzna shows there’s life in old schlock yet with “Beyond Re-Animator,” third in a series which began in 1985. Hemoglobin-heavy fare is sometimes shocking but rarely scary, and pic sprints from one gross-out moment to the next in a way calculated to appeal only to hardcore gore hounds. But a lengthy final sequence shows Yuzna can still turn up witty visual novelties in a genre he helped to invent, and his hearty commitment to such nonsense makes the slickly produced pic engaging. Title has been widely presold as part of Spanish producer-distrib Filmax’s English-lingo Fantastic Factory banner.

Pic opens with a nicely judged parody of “Scream” before zooming in on the scary mental world of Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs, encoring). He’s now locked in prison but still busy using his green serum to try to re-animate dead rats and cockroaches, including the pet rat of Cabrera (Enrique Arce).

Fresh-faced Howard (Jason Barry), whose sister was killed by a West experiment, comes to the prison as the new doctor. Meanwhile, Laura (Elsa Pataky), a journalist, is preparing an article on the jail with the assistance of prison director Brando (Simon Andreu).

When an inmate has a heart attack, West sees his chance to try out his old serum on a human again. A prison riot shifts the madness up a gear, and leads to a wonderfully degenerate 30-minute final sequence that involves not only lotsa gore and f/x but also some genuinely surreal visual wit.

Overall look is pro, with the re-animation concept still offering plenty of eye-catching opportunities. Perfs are B-movie style, with the exception of Combs, who plays his twitchy, mad scientist as a point of calm at the center of the frenzy he’s inspired. For the benefit of Spanish auds, pic features a cameo from comedian Santiago Segura as a drugs-obsessed inmate.

Beyond Re-Animator

Spain

Production: A Filmax release and presentation of a Castelao Prods. production, in association with Via Digital. (International sales: Filmax, Barcelona.) Produced by Julio Fernandez. Executive producer, Carlos Fernandez. Directed by Brian Yuzna. Screenplay, Jose Manuel Gomez.

Crew: Camera (color), Andreu Rebes; editor, Bernat Vilaplana; music, Xavi Capellas; sound (Dolby Digital), Pepe Caceres, Oriol Tarrago, Marc Orts. Reviewed at Cine Roxy A, Madrid, July 22, 2003. Running time: 93 MIN.

With: With: Jeffrey Combs, Jason Barry, Elsa Pataky, Enrique Arce, Simon Andreu, Santiago Segura. (English dialogue)

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