Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Movie Review: "Re-Animator" (1985)

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Director: Stuart Gordon
Year: 1985
Rating: UR
Running Time: 1 hour, 44 minutes

A medical student named Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) has developed a serum he claims will bring the dead back to life, though it may still need some tinkering.

Directed by Stuart Gordon, "Re-Animator" is a dark comedy splatter-house horror film, loosely based on the H.P. Lovecraft story "Herbert West, Re-Animator." It stars Bruce Abbott as Dan Cain, a simple med student working to become a doctor. He is secretly dating the dean's daughter Megan, played by Barbara Crampton, whom he hopes to marry once he finishes med school. His life goes a little crazy when a transfer student from Switzerland named Herbert West, played by Jeffrey Combs, moves into his spare bedroom. Herbert is a bit eccentric and has developed a serum that can bring the dead back to life, though those resurrected are a bit psychotic when they return from the grave.

"Re-Animator" is a lot of fun to watch. It is a low budget dark comedy that has a lot blood and guts and gore, which is right up our alley. We found ourselves laughing quite a bit throughout the film, but we simultaneously found ourselves grossed out by some of its graphic, unsettling but cool visuals. Everything within the context of this film is over the top. It doesn't have a whole lot of subtlety or nuance, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. The acting isn't all that great, nor is the script for that matter, but what's important about this flick is its ability to creep and gross the audience out, which it does amazingly. The main villain isn't really Herbert West, but Herbert and Dan's lecherous professor Dr. Hill, played by David Gale, who has an unrequited love for Megan. This plot point plays a central theme, but again, it's more about the gross-out types of horror here. The makeup work is pretty good for such a low budget flick, though it's not perfect and is sometimes extremely cheesy.

Despite all its problems, "Re-Animator" is a good time because it's very aware of its shortcomings and fully embraces them. We thrive on movies like this. They only had so much to work with and made the most of it by going as over the top as possible.

My Rating: 7/10
BigJ's Rating: 7.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 94%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!
One year ago, we were being scared by: "Pet Sematary"

Two years ago, we were being scared by: "Blood Feast"

Three years ago, we were being scared by: "Tales From the Crypt: Demon Knight"

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