The Resurrected is a horror film directed by Dan O’Bannon. It released in 1991 and stars John Terry & Chris Sarandon. Also, it’s an adaption of the H. P. Lovecraft novella The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. Additionally, the film is sometimes known as Shatterbrain or The Ancestor. Claire Ward hires private investigator John March to look into the increasingly bizarre activities of her husband Charles Dexter Ward, an esteemed chemical engineer.
Claire reveals to John that Charles recently uncovered secrets of his family history after their visitation to an abandoned ancestral farmhouse. While there he found a painting of a man named Joseph Curwen, to whom he bears an uncanny resemblance. Since these events, Charles has purchased and moved into the farmhouse, leaving Claire without explanation.
Upon investigating, John finds that numerous deliveries are made to the farmhouse. He asks Charles, who is evasive; Charles explains that he is undertaking routine chemical tests using animal cadavers. Soon after, an elderly man is found brutally murdered with only a few remnants of his bones left in the house. Police assume he was attacked and eaten by an animal, but John is sceptical. Claire and John go to visit Charles together. They find him looking unwell and speaking with an archaic accent. They attempt to extract an explanation from Charles, but he simply tells them he is on “the edge of greatness”, and that in six weeks’ time, they will understand.
Claire agrees to have Charles committed to a hospital. Doctors find his metabolism to be very high, triggering ravenous hunger. However, they are unable to explain his craving for blood and raw meat. Elsewhere, John and Claire continue their own investigation back at the farmhouse. The horrific nature of what they discover there will not easily be forgotten by the pair. Also, they come to understand what exactly is happening with Charles.
I had no real expectations of The Resurrected. The copy that I watched was of a lower quality. This is possibly due to the fact that the film released straight to VHS after some major distribution issues upon release. I mention this because I feel it’s a damn shame that I have never heard of this film. Within its genre, this is most certainly a hidden gem that is well worth a watch.
Firstly, the story is really compelling and provides a mystery that had me hooked to see where it would all end up. Interestingly, unlike other movies based on HP Lovecraft stories that have a somewhat comical edge, this is far more serious and straight faced which I actually really enjoyed because it gives the film a creepy vibe throughout.
The performances are really great as well. Chris Sarandon is a definite highlight, he delivers every line of dialogue like he’s reading poetry. There’s some excellently written dialogue for him to play around with. The gore is another huge plus as a lot of it is practical and man, this is some grotesque looking stuff. The resurrected monsters that they encounter in the dungeon are truly hideous but in a good way.
I do feel that the opening feels a bit rushed and throws a lot of details at you. There are a number of scenes that feel shorter than they were supposed to be which makes proceedings feel a bit disjointed. Although, there still manages to be a good sense of dread and mystery throughout. All in all, this is a top notch horror film.
The Final Score - 8/10