Synopsis: Having survived the twisted events of the previous film, mad scientists Herbert West and Dan Cain continue their experiments into the reanimation of the dead.
• The calculated madness of Jeffrey Combs’ performance as Dr. Herbert West drove the film.
• The overall plot was a strong discussion of the consequences of obsession, vengeance, and deep-seated loss.
• The wilder and sicker visuals of monstrous lovecraftian zombies were perhaps a truer depiction of lovecraftian weirdness than the first film.
• The chaotic and surreal climactic scene bled true dread at times.
• The darkly comedic elements made the more grotesque visuals more palpable by suggesting the filmmakers, too, knew how insane this all was.
• Did not function well on its own, even with the clear references to the first film.
• Elements of how the reagent can also regenerate tissue to a degree might be missed by the viewer, creating false continuity issues with the first film.
• Though Dr. Hill was still the primary antagonist, his lesser presence was a detriment.
• The plot felt somewhat loose at times.
More so than the first, this film was very much about rectifying failures. Herbert West’s reagent never worked right, and when it came close, he created twisted enemies (Dr. Hill). Dan Cain (Bruce Abbot) failed to save his fiancee from the first film, and deluded himself — as nudged by West — in thinking it was possible to bring even a part of her back. As such, this film was more a theoretical case study in obsession and regret. Neither of the mad scientists could stop themselves when it was clear their experimentations might have been leading to destruction. Perhaps that can be the real source of our mortal dread. We can visualize where we want to be, but finding the path there might be filled with far more pitfalls than we can ever predict.
Rotten Tomatoes — 44%