Directed by Brian Yuzna [Other horror films: Self Portrait in Brains (1978), Society (1989), Bride of Re-Animator (1990), Initiation: Silent Night, Deadly Night 4 (1990), Necronomicon (1993, segments ‘The Library’ & ‘Whispers’), The Dentist (1996), Progeny (1998), The Dentist 2 (1998), Faust: Love of the Damned (2000), Beyond Re-Animator (2003), Rottweiler (2004), Beneath Still Waters (2005), Amphibious 3D (2010)]
To quote from a Stephen King novel, Duma Key, ‘I never imagined it could get so bad, and God punishes us for what we can’t imagine.’ This is the punishment I never expected, and it came as quite a surprise to me.
Now let’s be clear – the second film of this series was far from stellar, and I personally thought it was a ways away from good. It was tepidly average at best. Here, they change things up a little, and take another route that I just couldn’t have cared about in the least, removing the comedic influences altogether and inserting a romance that’s doomed to fail because the young woman has become a zombie.
Removing the comedic influences was a bold choice, as The Return of the Living Dead, at least back in the early 1990’s, was probably one of the most popular zombie-comedies in existence, but it didn’t have to be a bad choice, and, if the film had gone in an entirely different direction, might even have been a heralded one. It’s also worth pointing out now that this film amazingly has the same rating as the second one on IMDb (or did at the time of this writing – it now looks like this film is rated 5.9/10 whereas the second is rated 5.7/10), and most of my friends in the horror community find the film moderately enjoyable.
All of that said, I found this movie absolutely and utterly horrible, and would never, under any circumstance, want to sit through this again.
The main problem is the romantic relationship between Melinda Clarke and J. Trevor Edmond. I was okay with them during the first scene, and when Edmond was breaking away from his father (played by Kent McCord), I was somewhat applauding them, but pretty much every moment after that, I just couldn’t stand them. As soon as, in pain and misery, Edmond brings Clarke back from the dead, and she starts eating people and becoming, you know, a zombie, and he sticks with her through it all (and I do mean all – far past the point where any reasonable person would have done so), I just wanted it to be over.
But the movie runs for an insane hour and 40 minutes instead of making it a more reasonable 70 minute film, which, while I wouldn’t have enjoyed it much more, at least would have felt more digestible.
The best character was played by Basil Wallace, who gets killed by Edmond’s idiocy, and later comes back as a zombie and helps out Edmond’s character despite the fact that the only reason he died was due to Edmond. None of that really mattered, as the final 15 minutes of this film was needlessly tacked on anyway, but there you go.
Oh, and Mike Moroff’s character was rather terrible also, but at least it fits in with the movie.
The special effects are decent, I’ll give it that. Though again, I don’t think that really matters as soon as Clarke’s character starts threading metal through her body and becoming a HARDCORE ZOMBIE CHICK. I cringed as soon as I saw that. It just looked awful, and it looked stupid, and I hated every second of it even more than the hate I had for it during the previous scenes.
Plenty of horror fans, as I’ve said, seem to enjoy this film, or at least enjoy it as much as they enjoyed the second film. Like I also said, the second film wasn’t great, but I just don’t get the love this one has. I don’t see it, and I don’t understand it, and I never want to cross paths with this movie again.