Saturday, September 14, 2013

Horror Film Review

Night of the Living Dead Re-Animation (2012):  At first blush, you might think this film won't suck.  It's got zombies and Jeffrey Combs.  At second blush, you realize it's in 3D and George A. Romero isn't even remotely involved and then begin to worry.  As you watch, a creeping dread that has nothing to do with the story steals over you.  Yes, my dears, we have yet another zombie flick that will have you questioning your loyalty to the genre.  Is it really that bad?  Maybe not; but Lord, it's not good.

Funeral home director Gerald Tovar, Jr. (Andrew Divoff) has a problem.  The corpses in his mortuary won't stay dead.  He's locked them in the crematorium wing and if they start moving again, he beheads them with a shovel.  Or hacks them up with a chainsaw.  Why not toss them in the oven?  Good question.  It's hinted that "Junior" is afraid of fire.  Why not at least bury the chopped up bodies?  Haven't a clue. So why are dead folks reanimating in the Tovar funeral home?  Junior's father, it seems, used to burn medical waste from some secret government program in return for cash.  The last batch had a nasty liquid that didn't get incinerated because Tovar Senior died and Junior has pyrophobia.  Bit of a stretch, but there you go.  Anyway, to complicate matters:  Junior's estranged brother Harold (Jeffrey Combs) shows up demanding money, Junior's waiting for secretary Aunt Lou (Melissa Bailey) to fire Goth mortician assistant DyeAnne (Robin Sydney) for making a client up to look like a clown, new assistant Cristie (Sarah Lieving) shows up all eager and book-smart, and handyman Russell (Adam Chambers) accidentally left the back door to the crematorium wing open and unattended for five minutes.  What on earth could possibly go wrong?

The problems I have with this film are varied and voluminous.  First and foremost is the odd political commentary.  There's a TV personality called Sister Sara (Denice Duff) who looks, dresses, and sounds like Sarah Palin.  It's spooky.  Aunt Lou and Junior mock her, making fun of "teabaggers."  Harold, however, is a fan.  Somehow, via unexplained means, Sister Sara ends up at the funeral home just in time to get herself bitten.  I hate it when filmmakers feel the need to incorporate their personal political agenda into their films, especially when the effort is so glaring.  Second is the waste of Jeffrey Combs.  This is Dr. Herbert West from Re-Animator, for goodness sake.  Here, he plays the straight man to Divoff's Gerald.  It simply doesn't work.  Third is the necrophilia scene.  Um...I'll leave it at that.  And fourth is the 3D.  The scenes that are supposed to be 3D are so obviously computer-manipulated that it's distracting (although at certain points in the movie, distractions would be welcome). 

Night of the Living Dead, the original and most groovy film by George A. Romero, shares its name with this movie but precious little else.  As usual, the Hollywood marketing weasels are trying to capitalize on the popularity of a previous success.  It's nothing short of blasphemy, and when I come to power, shall be made a hanging offense. 


Acting:  This is the one thing that surprised's not bad.  Well, if I'm honest, Combs does go a bit over the top.  Okay, a lot over the top.  What else could he do?  His part was crap.
Story:  Incomprehensible with a plot that has more holes than an Alabama stop sign.  The necrophilia was unnecessary but not totally unexpected.  Still...gross.
Direction:  How did director Jeffrey Broadstreet make an 88-minute film feel like two hours?  Pacing.  It moved slower than a constipated sloth. 
Production Values:  Filmed completely in Burbank, CA for an unknown amount of dough, it doesn't look all that cheap or cheesy.  It's on film instead of video, so there's that. 
Gore/FX:  There's a very good reason it's rated R.  The bodies in the crematorium wing are nasty.  You can practically smell them.  The zombie make-up is, for the most part, impressive.  The CGI, on the other hand, is not.
Scares:  There is one, sort of.  It was created to be a "gotcha" jump for 3D viewers. 
Ending:  Junior walking into the graveyard with his trusty shovel.  Don't ask because I don't know.
Verdict:  Should you watch Night of the Living Dead Re-Animation?  Die hard zombie fans or die hard Combs fans will find it difficult to stay away.  Those with just a casual interest in either should, though.  Unless, of course, you really, really dislike Sarah Palin. 

Rating:  2 out of 5

No comments:

Post a Comment