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Re-animator: The Dangers of Bringing the Dead to Life
Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott) is a relatively normal medical student: a hard worker, worried about his student loans and getting a scholarship, and dating the dean's daughter, Meg (Barbara Crampton). However, when he posts an ad for a roommate, he is introduced to Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs), a strange young man whose crazy theories on reviving the dead with a glowing yellow serum injected directly into the brain.
Even though West seems like a crackpot, his experiments seem to work. However, the reanimated become uncontrollably violent when revived, meaning there is much death and gore on the horizon for our two intrepid medical students.
This is a incredibly gory but fun movie. It's for the most part a beautifully pitched horror movie with plenty of scares, but it also has occasional dashes of humor, which are always appropriate for the situation and never ruin the mood. The special effects and makeup artists who worked on this film worked overtime to accomplish some great sights, including a man carrying his head around in a pan, a whole morgue full of gruesome zombies, and a deranged undead cat rushing all over the place in a dark and dirty basement.
The actors are all great, particularly Combs as West. Throughout the movie, it's hard to tell whether or not West is a hero or a villain, and until a clearer antagonist comes along in the second half, it is easy to be unsure whether to root for the inquisitive young medical student. West is able to be both cuttingly sarcastic and so detached from the rest of humanity that his lack of any social graces is bizarrely charming.Abbot serves as the moral center of the story, and it's interesting to see him slip slowly but surely into trouble as his increased exposure to West's maniacal experiments get out of hand and he is forced from one unethical situation to another. Crampton serves as the voice of reason in the story, and she is able to generate a lot of sympathy as she helplessly watches Dan slip ever closer into trouble, getting herself in increasingly traumatizing situations as West's reanimated corpses seem especially interested in her (it's telling that one of the most notable talents that she shows off in this movie is how powerfully she can scream). Finally, David Gale as the pompous professor Doctor Hill is winning as a foil to West, a man who burns at West's complete lack of respect for him while trying to depict himself as the brilliant scientist and doctor that West at least doesn't believe he is.
This movie chugs along, never boring its audience with a continuous barrage of guts, giggles, and scares. All in all, unless you hate gore or horror, this is a movie you should check out.