After thirteen years in a prison ruled by a very mean director, Dr. Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) is invited to be the assistant of the new-comer Dr. Howard Phillips (Jason Barry), a brilliant resident, in the penitentiary infirmary. After being introduced to each other, Dr. Phillips discloses that the last experiment of Dr. West killed his sister thirteen years ago, when he was a boy, and he became fascinated with the possibility of bringing dead people back to life. The journalist Laura Olney (Elsa Pataky), who is covering a matter for her newspaper in the prison, has an affair with Dr. Phillips, and they fall in love for each other. However, the experience of Dr. West looses control and the place becomes a branch of hell.
Directed by: Brian Yuzna
. Starring: Jeffrey Combs
, Tommy Dean Musset
, Jason Barry
, Bárbara Elorrieta
, Elsa Pataky
, Ángel Plana
, Javier Sandoval
, Santiago Segura
, Lolo Herrero
, Enrique Arce
, Nico Baixas
, Simón Andreu
, Joaquín Ortega
. Music by: Xavier Capellas
The original Re-Animator is deemed a classic of the genre, though to be honest, my admiration for it is only mild. Sure, it boasted a terrific performance from Jeffrey Combs, delivered tons of memorable gore, and featured a deliciously nude Barbara Crampton, but I always found the pacing a little off and I felt the movie took to long to get to the all-out carnage I expected. Is Beyond Re-Animator a "better" movie? Maybe not, but I enjoyed it more, and it's a rare sequel that actually remains true to its predecessor's roots.
Set thirteen years after the events of Bride of Re-Animator, Doctor Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) is in prison for his crimes (makes you wonder what he was charged with, resuscitating the dead?), but the arrival of a new doctor, Howard Phillips (Jason Barry), proves interesting to West's studies. Apparently, Phillips was a first-hand witness to the results of West's re-agent years ago (which resulted in the death of Phillips' really hot sister), and has arrived to work with him on perfecting the formula. Their studies further progress to the discovery of an electrical phenomenon that could restore a dead person back to its normal state, sans the rage that typically accompanies their revival. But not everything goes to plan, thanks to a nosy reporter (Elsa Pataky) Phillips is seeing and the sadistic prison warden (Simon Andreu) who's catching whiff of West's plans.
Like the previous movies, Beyond Re-Animator isn't plot driven, it's meant to play as a roller-coaster ride of extreme gore and dark comedy. The grue is even better than its predecessors and there are a couple of laughs to be had (even if they're also simultaneously wince-inducing). The fx stand out, with loads of memorable gore effects; there's a jawless zombie in the opening, a prisoner who overdoses on the re-agent and literally explodes, and my personal favorite, a prisoner missing the lower half of his body who's lassoed around by West himself. Hilarious.
Brian Yuzna is confident at the helm, giving the movie a slick look and feel, while maintaining a fast pace that nicely builds and rarely lets up. That said, the film is still packed with flaws, a lot of it pertaining to the repetitive nature of the story, which is basically "kill person, revive person, then kill person again," a cycle that endlessly repeats itself. The script brings up the topic of the electrical phenomenon, but doesn't really do anything with it. Are we supposed to assume that (spoiler) the reporter is somewhat possessed by the warden because she was given his NEE? There also aren't as many "zombies" as the first film, or at least not as many who are in any position to harm our protagonist (there's a scene where West discovers quite a few undead bodies hanging from the ceiling)
Jeffrey Combs-whose character actually starts to look a little normal compared to some of the nutsos here-is as delightful to watch as ever, and is really the one element that holds the film together in between the gore-soaked scenes. Jason Barry is flat and unconvincing as Phillips, whose decidedly complex character is clearly out of the actor's range (one would also think he'd show a bit more hostility towards West, considering he was indirectly responsible for the death of his sister). Elsa Pataky is very pretty, but has a hard time passing off as an American journalist (her Spanish accent slips through more than once). The only other worthy performer of note is the foxy Raquel Gribler, playing the prison nurse who reveals a LOT of cleavage and wears an almost see-through uniform. Pure eye candy, but a successful one at that.
Beyond Re-Animator works simply because it's fun, no more and no less, and whether or not you enjoy it depends on whether you mind (literally) eye-popping violence. The ending leaves things open for a sequel, but I'm actually kind of looking forward to the further misadventures of Herbert West. Let's just hope the next sequel boasts a tad more plot and variety to go along with all the fun, gory mayhem.
Review by Li-1 from the Internet Movie Database.