Night of the Living Dead 3D: Re-Animation Review (Oh not again?)

Directed by Jeff Broadstreet

Starring Andrew Divoff and Jeffery Combs

You have the title of one of the most well known, genre-shaping horror classics, the star of Re-Animator, the star of Wishmaster and lots of zombies. What could go wrong?

Well a lot really. Jeff Broadstreet, the director of 2006’s Night of the Living Dead 3D starring Sid Haig, now brings us his take on the origins of the living dead in his new prequel Night of the Living Dead 3D: Re-Animation.

Divoff and Combs as the Tover BrothersThe story follows mortician Gerald Tovar, Jr played by Wishmaster’s Andrew Divoff, who through his fear of fire is unable to cremate the toxic-medical corpses supplied secretly by the good old US Army (a deal that his now deceased father set up years earlier with no questions asked). It isn’t long before Gerald realises that his daddy’s deal will have grisly consequences for his staff and family as the dead start returning to life as flesh hungry ghouls.

Twenty minutes into the movie Gerald’s younger in debt, vet brother shows up looking for his share of his father’s inheritance. Sibling Harold Tover is played wonderfully by horror legend Jeffrey Combs, star of the Re-Animator movies, From Beyond and many more genre classics.

Sarah Lieving also appears as Gerald’s new assistant Christie Forrest who has to survive working for the weird Tover and his strange staff, including his over-weight Aunt Lou, nymphomaniac make-up artist and stoner handyman, as well as fighting the hordes of the living dead who have escaped from the mortician’s crematorium.

The history of the Night of the Living Dead franchise is far more interesting than any movie that tries to cash-in on its name. Back in the 1960’s George Romero, John Russo and The Latent Image Inc. unfortunately failed to add copyright to their 1968 classic, therefore releasing the movie into the public domain. Since then a number of ambitious directors have tried to use the NOTLD title to sell their movies and Night of the Living Dead 3D: Re-Animation is just another one of them.

The movie isn’t all bad. It’s nice to see horror icons Combs and Divoff together on screen and the effects are pretty gory and fun. Also there is a fantastic line in the movie when Combs’ character talks about the conspiracy surrounding the living dead and nods to 1968’s Night of the Living Dead, 1978’s Dawn of the Dead, Dan O’Bannon’s 1985 cult classic The Return of the Living Dead and Tom Savini’s 1990 remake of Night of the Living Dead (that is more gorier according to Harold).

As stated the special effects are good and the look of the zombies is very gory and effective. However the ‘Sarah Palin’ type character that shows up on TV screens, then in the mortuary is quite confusing and one can only assume it’s some sort of US in-joke that many UK viewers just won’t get. Both Combs and Divoff make the most of a pretty bad script and play their roles pretty deadpan. It’s a shame that quality actors such as these will inevitably be cast in low-budget horror B-movies; however they are fan favourites and legends in the horror world so their presence alone should ensure that this movie is seen by a wider audience. One of the saving graces of the movie is the 3D effects. The Blu-ray 3D transfer is excellent, and for a low-budget movie, director Broadstreet pulls off the gory 3D shocks like a Hollywood pro.

Night of the Living Dead 3D: Re-Animation is now available in the UK at all good stockists and is a treat for hardcore zombie fans who want to add another title to their ever-expanding collection of the living dead on DVD and Blu-ray.

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