18th Aug2012

‘Night of the Living Dead 3D: Re-Animation’ Blu-ray Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Andrew Divoff, Jeffrey Combs, Sarah Lieving, Robin Sydney, Adam Chambers, Melissa Jo Bailey | Written and Directed by Jeff Broadstreet

A prequel to director Jeff Broadstreet’s 2006 3D “remake” of Night of the Living Dead, Night of the Living Dead 3D: Re-Animation (that’s one hell of a long title) follows mortician Gerald Tovar, Jr. (Divoff) who inherits the family mortuary and exposes hundreds of uncremated bodies to toxic medical waste – at first accidentally and then later on purpose. As the corpses re-animate, Gerald’s inheritance-seeking younger brother, Harold (Jeffrey Combs), unexpectedly shows up and stumbles upon Gerald trying to keep the zombie outbreak under control. Sibling rivalry gives way to madness as Harold discovers Gerald’s dark secret – the freshly exhumed and zombified corpse of their father.

I haven’t seen Broadstreet’s Night of the Living Dead 3D, but given the opportunity to see two icons of horror, namely Andrew Divoff (Wishmaster) and Jeffrey Combs (Re-Animator), go head to head in a film I couldn’t say no. And neither will a lot of horror fans – their names are no doubt one of the key selling points of the movie and with good reason. The pair are easily the highlight of this film, seeing the pair together on-screen is easily as exciting for me as a horror fan as it was for fans to see DeNiro and Pacino face-off in Michael Mann’s Heat.

Divoff plays the film very straight-faced as the long-suffering mortician driven a little crazy by the situation that has unfolded around him. Meanwhile Combs as Divoff’s right-wing uptight brother seems to be having loads of fun playing a man whose idol is Sarah Palin – who not only is reference in the film but also gets turned into a zombie and shot in the head. Well at least a lookalike does! And whilst Romero’s political messages were more subvert, buried deep within his films stories, Night of the Living Dead 3D: Re-Animation wear’s its political message firmly on its sleeve – in fact the right-wing are the main target of the films quasi-political humour, with digs not only at Palin but also Dick Cheney and the “teabaggers”.

Whilst the film doesn’t really have anything to do with George Romero’s zombie franchise beyond the title, there are some fantastic references to Romero’s zombie trilogy strewn through Night of the Living Dead 3D: Re-Animation, not only are the shambling zombies of this film called Romero zombies but Combs rants about how the US government are behind zombie outbreaks in Pittsburgh in 1968 and 1978, Louisville in 1985 and Pittsburgh again in 1990… Those dates sound familiar? They should. It’s the locations and release dates of the original Romero zombie trilogy and the Romero-approved remake of 1990.

This is the type of movie that horror fans will watch just to see the performances of their favourite stars, in this case Divoff and Combs; however in the end the film is as shambling as the zombies that inhabit it – just too slow to be any danger to anyone. Passable entertainment for die-hard zombie fans, Night of the Living Dead 3D: Re-Animation, like its namesake predecessor, at least offers something new to the genre – zombies in 3D, and well-designed ones at that!

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