"Night of the Dead (Leben
Somewhere, in the massive
landscape of horror movies, the original and best reanimator, Dr.
Herbert West, is smirking at Eric Forsberg. That cool, implacable,
unflappable badass of science has seen this before, and knows how
And while West chuckles,
"Night of the Dead" marches on--"Re-Animator"
on a low budget and a couple of odd twists, but without the sheer
joy of Jeffrey Combs. A pregnant woman is being held essentially
prisoner at the Dr. Gabriel Schreklich Institute For Life Extension,
where her husband is serving a medical internship with his uncle
Gabriel (same guy). The Institute has developed a serum that allows
reanimation of the dead, and of course, it's not going to end well.
Not for the horrendously named Dr. Schreklich, not for his puppy-eager
nephew, and not for his pregnant young niece-in-law, who'll be largely
dependent on reanimated ghouls to help her escape. In a bit of an
interesting twist, Schreklich's serum is almost meant as a death
vaccine, designed to be taken before or at the moment of death.
West's was designed to be a full reanimation after death, so there
are at least some differences here.
Watching the reanimated
frog bit in the first five minutes somehow manages to be both sad
and insulting, all at the same time. And even worse is when you
can actually visibly tell the moment at which the woman and daughter
getting hit by the car just after the frog bit convert to mannequins.
Seriously--work your frame advance button at five minutes thirty
four seconds and watch the fun as a woman suddenly transforms into
an enormous conglomeration of plastic and cloth. It might have helped
if they hadn't telegraphed the punch earlier on. While you're working
the frame advance, watch as the mother shields her daughter from
the car by pulling her close...and then, suddenly doesn't? It's
amazing, but they went from holding hands, to clutching close, BACK
to holding hands. And then they brought in the mannequins.
already laboring under a monster disadvantage. The effects are a
low-budget nightmare and the plotline's been done already--not to
mention better--elsewhere, if only in part. That, and Forsberg seems
to be laboring under the mistaken assumption that fake blood will
make his low-budget knockoff better, so he dumps buckets of it into
as much of the movie as possible. It's a wonder there wasn't a packet
of it included with the movie, so we could get the full experience.
One scene actually has a character holding up a drop cloth so as
not to get any on him. It's that bad.
Which isn't to say it's
ALL bad...we've got to give some kudos to Lola Forsberg, who turned
in another great performance in "Night of the Dead"--not
to mention her earlier work in "Alien Abduction" and "Snakes
on a Train". The little girl knows her creepy. You remember
that sequence from the "Dawn of the Dead" remake with
the little zombie girl? Lola Forsberg has that beat. Seriously.
And Forsberg's script has at least a few distinctions from its much
better predecessor, the Re-Animator series. Even better, Forsberg
manages to throw in a couple of pretty well-charged action sequences
along toward the end.
The ending is, sadly,
the same blood-soaked mess as the rest of the movie is. Not to mention
a plot crevasse--for crying out loud, they hooked the natural gas
line to the sprinkler systems! This should fill the entire building
with natural gas, making it a powder keg that one spark would set
off. And yet, there's enough shotgun blasts going on to start a
small war. That hospital should have exploded long, LONG, before
it did. Though I'll admit...there's a fantastic twist ending. A
real out-of-left-field twist that would be really difficult to see
The special features
include filmmakers' commentary, a making of featurette, an original
short film "It Took Guts", a music video for the song
"Feel The Disease", and trailers for "Dragon",
"Snakes on a Train", "The Straun House", and
"Night of the Dead".
All in all, Eric Forsberg's
"Night of the Dead" makes a horrible, hollow, blood-soaked,
low-budget mockery out of the zombie film. The genre is cheapened
by its mere existance. Despite a few very solidly done facets, it's
impossible for "Night of the Dead" to be anything more
than a pale imitator.
of the Dead (Leben Tod)
Directed by Eric Forsberg
Written by Eric Forsberg
Starring Louis Graham, Gabriel Womack, Joey Jalalian, Lola Forsberg
Produced by Karen Forsberg, Eric Forsberg
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