Night of the Living Dead 3D: Reanimation (2012)

Rating: C

Dir: Jeff Broadstreet
Star: Andrew Divoff, Jeffrey Combs, Sarah Lieving, Robin Sydney

One of the perils of Night of the Living Dead being in the public domain is that everyone and anyone can use the title, regardless of genuine connectivity. This is Broadstreet’s second trip to the well – I’d quite forgotten, until inserting the review into the site, that I’d seen the first one. And while it isn’t as awful as Children of the Living Dead, there’s very definitely a sense of coat-tails being ridden. However, in our case, the films pretty much had us when we say “Jeffrey Combs” in the cast list. Gerald Tovar (Davidoff) runs a mortuary, but a recent unfortunate incident involving a corpse contaminated with toxic waste has led to an ever-increasing zombie problem.

He tries to keep this secret from the workers, despite their tendency to carelessly leave doors ajar, but when his brother Harold (Combs) starts sniffing around, seeking money, the cover-up starts to unraval – not least because Gerald has opted to revive a certain member of the family. The film has a serious lack of direction that hampers proceedings. Early on, it looks like it’s going to concentrate on a new employee (Lieving). Then, it shifts to be about the two brothers, who have a long chat about what’s going on.

This is actually fun, in part because of the homages to other entries in the series, but mostly because Divoff and Combs are just a pleasure to watch, playing off each other. But then there is also, for no apparent purpose, a Sarah Palin lookalike. Is that, like, still a thing in 2012? I know Romero had social commentary in his films to a certain degree, but this was embarrassingly bad. The zombies effects are a mixed bunch – occasionally, they’re pretty good, but there doesn’t seem a particular consistency of style in them. I think we lost interest in this one round about the time Combs collected his check, and nothing significant happened thereafter to reignite interest.