Bride of Re-Animator DVD Review
Written by Milos Jovanovic
DVD released by Tartan Video
Directed by Brian Yuzna
Written by Rick Fry, Woody Keith and Brian Yuzna; characters by H.P. Lovecraft
1990, Region 2 (PAL), 96 minutes, Not Rated
DVD released on November 12th, 2007
Jeffrey Combs as Dr. Herbert West
Bruce Abbott as Dr. Dan Cain
Claude Earl Jones as Lt. Leslie Chapman
Fabiana Udenio as Francesca Danelli
David Gale as Dr. Carl Hill
Eight months after the events which became known as the "Miskatonic Massacre", we find the primary guilty parties, doctors Herbert West and Daniel Cain, plying their trade at the frontlines of a Peruvian civil war. Following a near-death experience for Daniel and a new bout of experimentation by West, both return to the Miskatonic hospital and try to resume their regular lives. But West can't quite quit his crazy ideas, and before you know it, he's embroiled into another stab at reanimation formula development. Cain is reluctant before West wins him with the idea of reanimating...his late girlfriend!
And if this wasn't complex enough, several other factors join the fray. First of all, there's the Arkham police department's Lt. Leslie Chapman, who re-opens the case with a personal motive in the background. And then there's the vengeful Dr. Carl Hill — or better said, what's left of him (if you care to remember, he was decapitated eight months ago) — who desperately wants some payback exerted on West. When all those things tangle up, you can guess what's about to happen.
After the great success of their 1985 splatter hit Re-Animator, Stuart Gordon and Brian Yuzna re-teamed for this 1989 sequel, which homages a classic Boris Karloff Universal vehicle, with their own touches added in. This time, Gordon took the producer's seat and Yuzna opted to direct, but the result looks similar overall — it all boils down to blood, gore and some crude humour which, most of the time, hits the mark.
There is no great wisdom lurking within this review — quite simply, if you liked the first Re-Animator, you're bound to like this one as well, as all the best bits are rehashed here in a way. Bride is potentially less bloody than its predecessor (which is kinda like saying that this porn flick shows you less cleavage than that one), but it makes it up in a bit more expanded humorous approach which does not necessarily rely on the visceral to evoke laughter.
The key plot — West making a Frankenstein-esque creature out of female body parts and the heart of Cain's girlfriend — is basically just loose framework for the shenanigans that ensue eventually. As the result, the first two thirds of the film feel a bit overly talky to the pure splatter fan, with Yuzna focusing on the buildup and characters coming together. The payoff is worth waiting though, so bear with the plot development if it feels too slow for you initially.
What makes Bride stand tall and above from many other genre fares is the quality of acting. Jeffrey Combs, who repeats his Herbert West role here, is simply a joy to watch. His performance gets only more manic as the film progresses, and at the end, watching him try to control himself with a fully-fledged undead rage going on is pure hysteria. Bruce Abbot's Cain is the straight man in this dysfunctional twosome, and as such, he gets most of the "serious" moments, as well as a light romantic subplot attached to him. From the support cast, Claude Earl Jones as the motivated gumshoe is decent, but David Gale is sheer fun as (the head of) Dr. Hill.
The conclusion is Bride of Re-Animator is a worthy sequel to a fun '80s classic, and a good genre effort from the Gordon — Yuzna factory of imaginative horror. It's maybe not as zany as the first film or From Beyond, nor gory as the Peter Jackson's early efforts, but it will provide you with a fun afternoon — if buckets of blood are your idea of "fun", that is.
Audio, video and special features will not be graded as this is a screener.