Director – Brian Yuzna
Cast – J. Trevor Edmond, Melinda Clarke, Kent McCord, Sarah Douglas, James T. Callahan, Mike Moroff, Sal Lopez, Julian Scott Urena, Pía Reyes
Release Year – 1993
Reviewed by John of the Dead
The Return of the Living Dead remains one of my favorite zombie films do date, and while it’s sequel, Return of the Living Dead II was inferior to the greatness of its predecessor, it did manage to provide some good zombie action in a positive outing in the end. I went into this third installment to the series with the same mindset as I did with its predecessor, and once again left the film with a mostly positive feel thanks to some good zombie action. This flick isn’t great, but for the zombie fan it works if you need your fix.
Once again the military continues its experiments on the dead in a new attempt to create the ultimate weapon of the future, a soldier that will continue to fight despite critical injury. When Curt(J. Trevor Edmond; Pumpkinhead II) and his girlfriend Julie(Melinda Clarke; Spawn, The Killer Tongue, “The Vampire Diaries”) sneak into the military base Curt’s father, Col. John Reynolds(Kent McCord; Predator 2), works at, they stumble upon a secret experimental project he is heading, the very project involving using the dead as warriors of the future. After a freak motorcycle accident leaves Julie dead, Curt realizes the only way to bring back the only love of his is the employ the re-animation technology at his father’s military base, which comes with disastrous consequences.
Basically, if you enjoyed Return of the Living Dead II then there is a strong chance you will enjoy this one. If you hated it, then you most likely will hate this one, and so on for whatever other feelings you had towards the previous installment. We get more of the same antics from the get-go, starting off with the ever-strong military conspiracy element that has adorned the zombie sub-genre in numerous films. I have found this idea to be quite overdone these days, but given this idea is the basis for this franchise I can understand why it has such a heavy presence in these flicks.
The majority of the storyline is simple as hell, mainly focusing on the relationship between Curt and Julie after he reanimates her, which seems to be successful at first until she of course earns a craving for human flesh and brains. This is where the real conflict for the film begins, along with the usage of Curt’s father being one of those involved with the very experiment Curt used, and of course being the one in charge he must now fix up his son’s mess before they have a zombie epidemic on their hands. Several colorful characters are thrown in along the ride, which I found essential to this film’s pacing, which would have been quite slow and un-delivering without them. I did have some faults against the film’s story, which I felt is what kept it from being a truly awesome watch. In the end the story never really goes anywhere, and simply meddles on good ideas that stay stagnant for way too long.
As far as direction goes we get a mostly positive job from horror veteran producer/director Brian Yuzna(Producer: Re-Animator, From Beyond, Necronomicon: Book of the Dead, Dolls, Darkness, Beyond Re-Animator, Dagon. Director: Bride of Re-Animator, Beyond Re-Animator, Necronomicon: Book of the Dead, The Dentist, Progeny), who gave us some fantastic live-action effects and amazing zombie action. I will say that the zombie action was not as heavy as I wanted it to be, mainly because this film focuses a bit more on the love between Curt and Julie, but the zombie action that we do get is headstrong and delivers for fans of zombies and great gore. I really have to give Brian Yuzna props for deliver such great gore, including many awesome looking zombies both in their mannerisms and their overall appearance, some of which had strong deformations thanks to the military experiments, which was a nice touch.
Overall, this is a borderline positive entry into this fun series that delivers heavily on the zombie action and the gore thanks to Brian Yuzna’s direction, but in the end the film suffers many faults due to a story that goes nowhere, resulting in an OK watch at best. Fans of zombies and gore may find this one enjoyable, just be sure and go into this flick without high expectations.