When things go wrong at a medical school Zurich, Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) is the suspect for killing and bringing back to life Dr. Grubar. He is transferred to from Zurich to another medical school in New England. West decides to rent a room from another medical student named Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott) and ultimately converts it into a laboratory. From the get go West is not in favor of their teacher Dr. Carl Hill, because West feels Hill stole his teachings from his former teacher. The film continues as West test his serum that “re-animates” or brings things back to life, first on his Cain’s cat, and then a much bigger approach onto humans. Re-Animator approaches itself seriously at first, but continues onto a more comedic tone.
I can say up front that this film was not as I expected. I wanted to watch it solely based of the film’s poster. That may effect my view slightly. The characters were a little shallow in depth. The main lead Herbert West was defined well. He was a young scientist, highly intelligent, but didn’t possess rational thinking; or better known as a mad scientist. Dr. Carl Hill was a ominous teacher. He spoke in a monotone fashion, old fashioned and wanted to permit as little fun as possible to his students. It made me think of Dracula meets Professor Snape. Dan Cain and his girlfriend Megan Halsey were pretty undefined, besides the fact they were in a relationship, medical students, and that Megan’s father was Dean of the University. Dean Halsey wasn’t too important either.
I must say it was pretty well done for $900,000 but I think it could have been done better. Herbert West possessed a glowing bright green serum and when when used om subjects they would become raging zombies. These are not the intended results though, the serum’s purpose is to bring subjects back to life and to be able to respond to West’s request. The serum lands in the hands of Dr. Carl Hill, but at great cost, leading to a revengeful ending.
I have mixed emotions about this film. It felt a little slow and long, but it only has a run time of 95 minutes. I liked the story, the main character and somewhat enjoyed the effects, but the film gave us moments exploiting the fact the girl had women features, I don’t feel it was necessary. It may play into the Dr. Carl Hill’s creepy interest in Megan Halsey. If this was a tv episode, and employed the episodic structure a little better, I may have enjoyed it more. For example some scenes could have been taken out and better used to explain how Herbert was so intelligent, his intentions, or how he even created the serum to begin with.
Overall, The story is great, and the effects are well done, but nonetheless cheesy. However the characters and the films execution was far below par. There wasn’t a certain type of look or atmosphere to help boost the quality of the film, I feel like massive horror fans will love this classic. I would rather read the original story from H.P Lovecraft.
Rating: ★★ / ★★★★★
Dir. Stuart Gordon
IMDb 7.3/10 – Rotten Tomatoes 93%
Nominated Saturn Award – Best makeup & Best horror film
“Don’t expect it to tango; it has a broken back.”