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This Experiment is Over!!!
on January 30, 2004
Herbert West is a man on the cutting edge of science. He's revolutionized thought as he's walked that fine line between experimentation and "morality," bringing the dead back from the grave and all the while proving that demise is merely a disease and not a functional piece of punctuation added to the end of the living equation. He's taken that a step further, too, proving that life exists in every portion of the whole and that each specimen he collects can be introduced to his re-agent and returned from the grave. A combination of eyes and a few fingers, an organ stew with limbs; he's been there and he's done that with a type of "morbid doodling" that has been interesting to watch. And now, 13 years after he was imprisoned for his achievements, he's found the very thing that tells the cells of the body to grow.
While its not reflected here, this movie actually premiered on the Sci-Fi network months before it was released on VHS or on DVD, and many of these reviews are for it. I know that because I watched it myself, seeing the things that were cut out and left incomplete before checking this page for the DVD release date. When I did I also noticed the lack of gore in some places because it had been cut for television, the lack of a certain part of the male anatomy fighting a rat at the end because it could be considered tasteless, and I also noticed waves in the story. So, those were pitches for an incomplete viewing. Still, the negative reviews do have a point and that is that you might not enjoy this if you don't have the right mindset.
In order to actually enjoy yourself and what this brings to the table, you have to be able to do a few things, and one of those things is to tell yourself that this is the story of Herbert West. While many can't accept this fact, the first in the series has been done, is long gone, and its never going to be done again. Everything after-the-fact is going to seem like a sequel and you aren't going to find a carbon copy of the original. You also aren't going to get the same actors (save the most wondrous one, Jeffrey Combs, who is crucial to this series) and you are going to have some problems due to budget restraints. Still, if you liked the series itself, you should be happy if you've followed the story this far because the third chapter fits in rather well.
While the plot of the movie is a little sketchy if you catch bits and pieces of it and drifts a tad when you get toward the end, its actually not that bad of a theory when you get down to it. As Dr. West points out, the human body loses three to four grams of weight when it dies. According to him, this NPE, or Nano Plasmic Energy, is the very building block of what makes life "alive." It tells the cells to grow, making the byproduct who and what it is because it could very well be the component many dub a soul. Accordingly, NPE can overcome many of the problems Dr. West has had in the past with the reanimated monstrosities he's created, allowing him to endow true life to the things he's returning to this side of living. It works better than the Thorazine he's been using to sedate them, after all, or the straight jackets he's used to keep them in check. The only thing is that he gets excited and, as everyone knows, nothing works exactly as the scientist pictures it because this always has been an on-going process
As far the other portions of the movie goes, it goes from "not that bad" to "impressive, considering the budget."
As far as the gore, there are some good examples of prosthetic effects - considering the amount of gore has been stepped down. You have some blood that rushes out really well, some bodies stripping themselves down to base elements, and you have other "portions" popping up. You do have some cheaper CGI sometimes taking up residence, too, but those aren't really a bother because this is somewhat of a comedy founded in the science of slapstick horror. Besides, a male portion of the anatomy fighting off a rat at the end is pretty funny stuff.
As far as acting goes, you get what you expect. You have some people that are bad, the great Jeffrey Combs that is always on because he is Herbert West to everyone following the series, and you have some people in the middle. Still, your setting, a jailhouse, allows some of that to be overlooked because you aren't exactly expecting a drove of great people in that place.
And, as far as the little Lovecraft joke in the name Howard Phillips, I got a laugh.
Also, watching the commentary "special feature", I noticed that IT'S A CUT MOVIE. With some scenes missing that you are shown in the director's commentary, you know it was cut before having an American release That's always sad, too, and it also shows what a translation to English will often get you - despite the R rating.
If you want to gage whether or not you might like it, you should simply ask yourself what you thought of the last two as a whole and then go from there. You should also ask yourself what you want to see in the movie, what its all about, and if you're going to see the undead or something more try to take place. As I said before, it is the story of Herbert West thirteen years after he's gone to jail, his partner now turned state's evidence, so things are going to be different. Still, Jeffrey Combs is Jeffrey Combs and that, at the end of the day, that sells itself to me.