Viewed – 16 April 2016 Blu-ray
Yes I got myself both movies this weekened and thought I’d give them a critical look as they’ve both had the lavish restoration treatment. However I recall only ever seeing this sequel once and couldn’t remember much about it. Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) and his assistant, now Doctor Dan Caine (Bruce Abbott) return from a medical assignment in some war torn part of the world and find themselves piecing together body parts to create a woman, ala Bride of Frankenstein. If ever parallels between the two concepts were just, then they are ever more so here. With a new love interest on the scene, Dan feels reluctant to continue helping West who grows increasingly unhinged … yet finds himself pulled back when West comes up with the idea of using Dan’s former girlfriend Meg’s heart in the new body.
Like the movie that proceeded it, its decidedly low budget and a bit silly, but unlike that movie ramps up the freak-o-metre with some bizarre creations (a finger spider, a dog with a human arm), but the dark sense of humour is mostly missing. Here it seems we have several plot threads going on at the same time with not enough to them to really get one’s teeth into. We have the unfathomable return of ‘talking-head’ Dr Hill, a vengeful Police Detective investigating the aftermath of the last movie, and at the same time the gradual creation of the Bride. It feels unfocused and not helped by a plodding pace and amateurish acting from anyone not in the previous movie. Combs gives it his all and still makes for a memorable mad scientist, whilst Abbott is a bit buffed up and comes across all smouldering, which doesn’t exactly suit the character. Gore hounds will be both rejoicing and disappointed by the all too brief effects (especially the wonderfully freaky Bride) but there’s still fun to be had here. It’s just overall the movie fails to build on or capture the perverse energy that made Re-Animator such a classic in the first place.
The Blu-ray from Arrow Video is impressive, with the limited edition I picked up really wowing – housing two cuts of the movie, a DVD version and a graphic novel along with a detailed booklet. On an image front we get a clean and mostly detailed picture that really shows off the movie’s often garish colour palette. Sound-wise it’s serviceable with just a stereo channel on offer, but it does the job. The score which was a highlight in the last movie seemed dialled back however and not as enjoyable this time.
Extras consist of three audio commentaries, one from director Brian Yuzna, another with cast and crew, and a final one with stars Jeffrey Combs and Bruce Abbott. Add to this detailed featurettes and behind the scenes footage detailing the making of and the special effects, and … considering the movie itself is fairly forgettable, this is amazing treatment if a little unwarranted. I think collectors will get more out of the extras here than the movie, so excuse me whilst I dive into them to make up for my disappointment.
(the movie) 2.5 /5
(the Blu-ray) 5 /5