A medicine student Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott) and his girlfriend Megan Halsey (Barbara Crampton) are enjoying their idyllic life and the prospect of a bright future… But this is a horror movie so it cannot stay that way and something needs to happen… A new student, Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs), is transferred to the university Dan is studying at. At his previous university he was involved in experiments to re animate dead tissue. The experiments were semi-successful, bringing dead cells to life,but for a short time and without the higher cognitive functions in people, making them aggressive. Herbert is determined to continue his experiments with the re-agent. He needs a place to stay though and what luck that Dan needs a roommate. Dan finds out about the re-agent and reluctantly starts to work with Herbert on his experiments.
Again, this is a movie based on a story by H.P. Lovecraft starring Jeffrey Combs and when you put the master of Horror as a writer and the master of weird and creepy characters as the star of the movie it’s a winning combination.
That’s it! That’s all the information you need to go pick up the movie and watch it.
But I don’t want this review to seem lazy so i’m going to write something else about the movie besides “watch it”.
Alert for animal lovers:
A cat dies and comes back to life, dies again, then comes back to life again and then dies again, each time in less and less favourable condition, so if you’re an avid animal lover you might want to cover your eyes for about 15-20 minutes and skip the cat, it’s ordeals and a good portion of the plot with that because that’s when Dan finds out about what the re-agent Herbert is experimenting with can do. This is a horror movie after all so disturbing scenes are expected, but somehow people get more shocked when an animal dies than they do when a human dies.
Hence the warning. I don’t want to get crucified for not mentioning that there is animal violence in this movie by those naked women protesting animal rights and meat is murder… Or do I? Hmm…
Another thing to note about this movie is once scene in it that I could probably best describe as reverse necrophilia. Seriously, that’s messed up. I won’t spoil it for you if you haven’t watched it yet, but this is something you rarely see in movies. If at all.
The atmosphere in the movie is nothing amazing. It starts in one tone and never really evolves past that, but that doesn’t diminish the quality of the experience. The plot paces itself nicely and that’s a big plus for any movie, especially for the horror genre. I hate it when the plot is going nowhere for about 45 minutes, then there’s a big cut in the plot where horrors start to happen and then you’re left wondering what the hell just happened and why. Thankfully this isn’t the case here.
The effects are not that fancy, just a bunch of make up, fake blood, fake animatronic cats and glowing re-agent liquid. You won’t miss them at all though because there’s nothing in the story that would demand over the top special effects, which goes to show; Write a good story and the rest is of little consequence.
All in all it’s a classic cult movie you really should watch if you already haven’t. And if you have – you should watch it again.
Re-Animator 1985 trailer:
Director: Stuart Gordon
Writers: H.P. Lovecraft (story), Dennis Paoli (screenplay)
Stars: Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, Barbara Crampton