Night of the Living Dead 3D: Re-Animation (2012)
"The beginning of the end."
Gerald Tovar Jr. runs a remote mortuary and has a problem - the dead bodies just won't stay dead after being exposed to toxic waste. He tries his best to keep this undead epidemic a secret from his employees. But his snooping brother Harold turns up demanding money after he feels he was wronged in their late father's will and stumbles upon Gerald's secret.
Seriously? Like the army of the undead that continues to plague the market, so too do the hack merchants who continue to leech off the inimitable George A. Romero and his original classic zombie trilogy. If it's not John A. Russo butchering the original (that he worked on!) in his Night of the Living Dead: 30th Anniversary Edition complete with newly shot footage, it's the duo of Ana Clavell and James Dudelson making truly woeful sequels in Day of the Dead 2: Contagium and now Jeff Broadstreet almost single-handedly trying to make an entirely new franchise around the Night of the Living Dead mantra. Unfortunately, back in the 1960s George A. Romero, John Russo and their company failed to properly protect the copyright on Night of the Living Dead which has led to the film being in the public domain for years and which allows any pretentious hack job with a camera and some money the opportunity to use the name and create their own spin on the project. It must have been heart-breaking for Romero to see his work pulverised and desecrated so often and without so much as a hint of a royalties cheque. Night of the Living Dead 3D Re-Animation has nothing to do with Romero's original so the question needs to be asked - if it's supposed to stand alone, why use the Night of the Living Dead moniker? Oh yeah, I forgot - $$$$$$. Shameless, unscrupulous salesmen cashing in on a classic to trick genre fans into shelling out their money.
Following Broadstreet's appalling Night of the Living Dead 3D homage/re-imagining/walking over the grave of the original abomination/whatever it was called comes this even more unnecessary prequel which tells the story of the events which led to the outbreak. Moving just as slowly as the shuffling flesh eaters in the cellar, Night of the Living Dead 3D Re-Animation is a clunking mess from the start. It takes ages to get going, with the zombies rarely making an appearance, and there's nothing to maintain audience interest as a result. Like many low budget zombie flicks, the film seems to go out of its way to avoid showing us the title creatures. Dull human drama. A few unnecessary side characters who add nothing to the plot. Political satire that will fail to hit its target on anyone who isn't a US citizen. Hardly cutting edge material like Night of the Living Dead was but it's all just gloss anyway, attempting to paper over the glaring absence of the zombies.
Horror fans should immediately be attracted to this by the two genre names in the cast: Jeffrey Combs from the Re-Animator films and Andrew Divoff from the Wishmaster series. It's a trump card for any horror film to feature such established veterans and definitely a key selling point but Night of the Living Dead 3D Re-Animation does absolutely nothing with them. The tedious family palaver between them takes priority over any zombie action and whilst the two men are usually capable of pulling out all of the stops to keep their performances interesting (just watch them in their best work and you'll see), they are not required to even break into a sweat here. They could have been utilised far, far better than they are here and both seem to underplay their roles somewhat.
When it comes to the zombies, they will finally make an appearance, I promise. It's just that you have to sit through so much to get to them. Even then, it's a wonder that they bothered. The zombies do just as little as Combs and Divoff did, stumbling around the mortuary polishing off minor characters and not even threatening a mass break-out. The gore is mainly CGI-variety, which bugs me to no end in a normal splatter flick but makes me even angrier when there are zombies involved - I like my entrails real and squishy. I understand that it's cheap to use CGI over real prosthetics but surely the local butcher could supply some unwanted pig intestines?
The 3-D is also little more than a gimmick here, with the usual shotguns and shovels being thrust in front of the camera as if we haven't seen one in the third dimension before. A couple of decent 3-D gore moments provide some minor highlights but Piranha 3-D and My Bloody Valentine 3-D did the groovy gore a whole lot better with the glasses on. I guess the film did it's job and cashed in on the short-lived 3-D resurgence.
Originality-free. Excitement-free. Scare-free. The only thing that wasn't free was the over-inflated price I paid for the blu-ray. Night of the Living Dead 3D Re-Animation is an appalling and cynical cash-in to a battered film legacy which deserves more respect from the fan boy defilers who pretend to worship at its feet, only to add to its abuse.
Night of the Living Dead 3D: Re-Animation
Director(s): Jeff Broadstreet
Writer(s): Jeff Broadstreet, Robert Valding (certain characters created by)
Actor(s): Andrew Divoff, Jeffrey Combs, Sarah Lieving, Robin Sydney, Adam Chambers, Scott Thomson, Melissa Bailey
Duration: 88 mins