Review by Staci Layne Wilson for Horror.com
When I first saw the campy gorefest that is now the legendary cult classic "Re-Animator", I was impressed. Not necessarily impressed by it's special effects or it's acting, but there was just something about the 1980s reimagining of Lovecraft that tickled me. And 18 years later, I still like it.
Just this year, I saw 1990's Bride of Re-Animator for the first time. I was mildly amused, but far from tickled. And now, a few months later, I have 2003's Beyond Re-Animator under my horror-maven belt.
When I saw that it was directed by Brian Yuzna, I instantly had my doubts. (Yes, I know he produced the original Re-Animator.) I've seen a few movies directed by Yuzna now, and while they always look very compelling in their trailers and they generally start off with a bloody bang, they usually run out of steam. Unfortunately, Beyond Re-Animator is no exception - and yet, for fans of Dr. West and all things dead and angry, this DVD might be worth the price of a rental or even a buy if it's in the bargain bin.
In Beyond Re-Animator, Dr. Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) is finally being punished for his ungodly Frankenstein-esque deeds. He's serving time in a maximum security prison amidst the great unwashed, but when a young admirer and fellow doctor, Howard (Jason Barry), comes to work in the pokey, West's evil is unleashed once again. While Beyond does follow the fomulas set up by the original and Bride, that's not necessarily a bad thing. There are a couple of twists, and you really can't say you've seen a movie (at least this year) in which a rat has a fight scene with a disembodied but re-animated penis. As one of the prison guards in the movie is fond of saying, the acting and the plot are "dubious" but what do you really expect from the third installment of what is already a B franchise? Zipping on a roller coaster of extreme gore and dark comedy, Beyond is worth the ride - but if you're looking for more cerebral horror you might want to try They Saved Hitler's Brain (1968).
The DVD, surprisingly, has lots of additional release material. There is director commentary (dry; basically, Yuzna just tells us what's going on on the screen, which we can see for ourselves), a very well-edited and well-presented "Making of" featurette with interviews with the entire cast and several of the crew, and a so cheesy it's funny techno music video.