Literary fiction is flying
hot and fast out at The Asylum, as we're brought a second literary
adaptation. Hot on the heels of David Latt's "H.G. Wells
War of the Worlds" (the trailer for which can be seen on this
DVD), comes Leigh Scott's "Frankenstein Reborn," an updated
version of the original work by Mary Shelley.
So what we have here
is the story of Victor, (as in Frankenstein. Duh.) a
neurosurgeon who has become obsessed with the reanimation of dead
flesh (like in "Frankenstein". Duh.). Victor
murders his patient and resurrects the corpse.
A little different from
"Frankenstein" this time around...the original Victor
robbed graves for bits and pieces to sew together. THIS Victor
just gathers them wholesale on the same body.
But much like the original,
Something Goes Wrong with Victor's new creation, and it goes on
a rampage. The Creature, as it's called, launches into a killing
spree, discing up anyone it can get its clammy, undead hands on.
Under normal circumstances,
I'm often the first to point out lousy special effects work, but
"Frankenstein Reborn" does not suffer from that particular
malady as much as is normal. For instance, about two and a
half minutes in, there's a very convincing dismemberment.
I can't find the wires, as it were...it's a relatively seamless
operation, done quite well.
The differences between
Mary Shelley's original "Frankenstein" and Leigh Scott's
"Frankenstein Reborn" are mostly cosmetic. Instead
of lightning reanimating the corpses, we get cutting-edge nanotechnology
doing the job. Of course, they also throw in the lightning
as an homage to the original, but it's a minor plot point at best.
Getting our first good
look at the Creature, just short of the forty nine minute mark,
is actually kind of disappointing. It looks oddly like the
monster from Stuart Gordon's "Castle Freak."
But the decapitation
at one hour and four minutes in is again, surprisingly realistic.
The quality of the effects is considerably higher for "Frankenstein
Reborn" than it is for many of its contemporaries.
In fact, that's a perfect
way to describe most of "Frankenstein Reborn." it's a
cut above most of its contemporaries. Sure, the plotline is
a bit derivative--it's based on a hundred plus year old novel that
spawned legions of movies.
But the simple fact
remains--the acting is solid, the script is solid, and the effects
are DEFINITELY solid. When there are effects that I can't
easily deride as fake, I take notice. Too much of direct to
video involves special effects slopped together to try and improve
a sagging script. In this case, it's a fair script augmented
by good special effects.
The ending is packed
with surprise twists that'll really leave you satisfied. It's
an excellent ending overall, and the final thirty seconds will prove
to hold one surprise you probably won't see coming.
The special features
include audio options, feature commentary, a blooper reel, deleted
scenes, a behind the scenes featurette, and trailers for "H.G.
Wells War of the Worlds", "Hide and Creep", "Legion
of the Dead", "Jolly Roger: Massacre at Cutter's Cove"
and "Frankenstein Reborn."
All in all, "Frankenstein
Reborn" is literary adaptation at its very finest, and an excellent
overall addition to The Asylum's lineup.
GRADE: 3 stars ***