When you start to notice certain themes in the work of a director, you wonder what it says about that director personally. Brian Yuzna directed and produced this third installment of the Re-Animator series, and I have to ask, What's up with him and women? In the Re-Animator series, as well as in The Return of the Living Dead 3, the main story involves a man so emotionally dependent on a woman that he's willing to risk bringing her back as a violent walking corpse rather than live without her. You might argue that the Re-Animator series is really more about Herbert West (played again in this installment by Jeffrey Combs) and his research, but he couldn't have done it without the help of the well-intentioned lovelorn sidekick, Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott) in the first two movies and Howard Phillips (Tommy Dean Musset) in this one.
In this movie, Herbert West has finally been thrown in jail (although now that I think about it, I'm not sure for what crime), and after 13 years he is tracked down by the brother of the last victim of one of West's zombies. The brother (Howard) is now a doctor, and has asked to be assigned to the prison where West is being held. Howard asks West about his research, and West persuades Howard to help him continue it. Howard also meets and falls in love with a reporter (Elsa Pataky), who grows to suspect that Howard and West are hiding something.
Tommy Dean Musset is not the actor that Bruce Abbott was, and although there were some cool new ideas and special effects, the dialog is painfully cliched. Jeffrey Combs acquits himself well, but then he should be able to play Herbert West in his sleep by now. The movie was shot in Spain, with a mostly Spanish cast, and although they seemed capable enough for their roles, it was also distracting when their accents started to slip through.
Yuzna at least seems to be aware of the kind of movie he is making. In the DVD extras, he admits that the main components of the movie were sex and violence, and the sexual symbolism in the film shows that he at least attained that goal, if nothing else. Maybe I'm being too harsh. He did, after all, write Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. But he should try something different in his horror movies.