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Review The Resurrected (1991): Flawed but cosmic horror done right!

genre: lovecraftian, horror

The Resurrected is an adaptation of the H. P. Lovecraft novella The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. For some reason this went direct to video instead of getting a proper theatrical release. Sure this has low budget written all over. But in my opinion deserved better since it's one that actually stays true to the main elements of cosmic horror. 

Director Dan O'Bannon (Return of the Living Dead) did quite a lot with the relative low budget. And I dare to say that it forced the filmmakers to be creative with the sets, locations and special effects. The literal darkness in the film actually enhances the creepiness and dread. A few years ago when I was on holiday in Mexico I happened to catch The Resurrected on television. At first glance it looked like a simple TV movie to me. But very quickly I was incredibly invested in the mystery and the case main character John March was put on. The film got darker and tense by the minute since it absolutely refuses to give away with what is actually going on up until the very end. Although if you pay attention good enough you will have some idea. But trust me when I say that when the moment arrives the pay off is huge. I distinctively remember being enthralled with the viewing experience. Naturally on a second or third viewing it loses some of it's impact but still will offer things to sink your teeth in. In the finale for example a certain event hints at an explanation without actually giving you one. For people not familiar with Lovecraft or cosmic horror probably will remain a mystery. For cosmic horror fans it will be quite obvious and therefore beautiful despite the violence and gore that is displayed. And make no mistake while gore is used sparingly it definitely is the right kind. 

Some reviewers have criticized the acting and the way the film looks. But the whole TV movie vibe is actually what emphasizes the big contrast between the expectations and the end result. I for one was not expecting any dread or creepiness but when it occurred I was pleasantly surprised by what this film had revealed to me.

A must watch for (cosmic) horror fans! 

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