Friday, March 03, 2006

Bride of Re-Animator

Title: Bride of Re-Animator (1990)
Dir: Brian Yuzna
Tagline: Date. Mate. Re-Animate.
Rating: ** 1/2 out of 5 stars

SPOILER WARNING: The following contains spoilers about the first Re-Animator movie. DO NOT read this review if you have not seen the first movie!

I hate to say it, but this movie really let me down. Even without comparing it to the original, this sequel just fell flat. Am I missing something? A lot of people seem to love this one. Why?

Plot rundown: Herbert West and Dan Cain are still researchin dead tissue re-animation, when West figures out how to re-animate body parts. Together they attempt to create life in the form of a Frankenstein-like woman, made up of various people's body parts.

So why was I disappointed? Firstly, it's impossible to overlook the GAPING plotholes between the first and second movies. I can ignore the fact that it looked like West died in the first movie - if he's not shown dead, I don't complain. And I certainly do not complain about more Jeffrey Combs. But Dr. Hill's head was clearly crushed at the first film's end, but the head was intact in Bride. And they never explain how it ended up at a sideshow (although a funny reference to West's line in the original movie). And what happened to Meg? Did the reagent work? How did she die (again)?

When Bride began, and those familiar opening credits rolled, I thought, "Hmm, Yuzna seems to be following the first movie pretty closely. I like that, it shows respect for the first film." Apparently I was completely wrong, as shown by all those gigantic plot inconsistencies. Did he even watch the original movie?

Secondly, the sequel had some pretty shitty acting. There was some major overacting, and much of the dialogue was pretty dumb, save a few memorable lines from West ("Don't let the little head rule the big head, Dan"). The police lieutenant and Dr. Graves were completely useless and I didn't like them. There should have been more Hill! Obviously there's no way to explain how his head was intact again, but at the very least they could've given him more screentime. He had no purpose here - the plot wasn't about him. I think he should've done a lot more in this movie, being treated as a proper villain and not just some unthreatening side character.

Third, I liked the homage to Bride of Frankenstein, but the writers could've gone further with the bride/mother theme. So much talk of women and wombs, but no baby-related stuff. Maybe it's the Dead Alive fan in me, but I would've liked to see a re-animated Frankenstein baby!

Overall, the movie felt very disconnected - kinda ironic considering it's all about stringing together body parts. It's as if the writers half-assedly stitched together the left over pieces of Re-Animator and came up with this movie. And why does this movie look so dated and cheap? I'm guessing it had a lower budget, cause this one really felt like a late night B-movie whereas its predecessor did not.

I don't want to sound like I hate it - it had some cool moments. Those body-part creatures were pretty freaky! I was just disappointed, especially after hearing it was as good as the original. I think Stuart Gordon could've have pulled it together into something better. Ah well.