I’m not sure where to begin with this one. Return of the Living Dead part III is a fantastic horror movie with a creative spin on the zombie genre. Its only problem is that it doesn’t actually FEEL like a Return of the Living Dead flick since there isn’t a shred of dark comedy in the whole movie. In fact, it’s terribly depressing.
But the fact that it was so depressing is what makes the movie so exciting and engaging, in my opinion. The ending will come as a real shock. There are no winners, the good guys don’t save the day, and it isn’t done tongue-in-cheek style, either (like the ending to the first film in the franchise). It was very sad, but fit the tone of the movie like a glove and never took the cheap way out. You have to respect that about the movie; it never pulls its punches.
There weren’t very many zombies in the flick, as it instead placed the spotlight on a single zombie and her attempt to over-come the psychotic urges for the sake of her boyfriend. We don’t really get a zombie massacre until the ending. This bored me at first, but once I understood the movie (and that there wasn’t going to be any comedy) I really got attached to the characters and actually felt sorry for their predicament. That made the ending all the more powerful.
The Tarman only has a brief cameo at the very end when all the zombies start crawling out of the 245 Trioxcide barrels. Though the Tarman is the staple character of the series (even if it’s a different Tarman in each movie), I’m glad they made his cameo as short as it was. This was a completely different type of movie than the other installments of the franchise.
The DVD is just like Part II; a director’s commentary (which I didn’t listen to), a trailer for the film and a marvelous picture transfer.
The movie probably would be held in a higher regard if it wasn’t titled “Return of the Living Dead”, as it betrays the jovial atmosphere of all the other installments. But looking past that inconsistency, it’s a fresh and creative zombie film I’d instantly recommend to any fan of the genre.
I’d give it a C+. As a Return of the Living Dead film it meshes poorly with the other installments, but the pacing, acting and characters (especially Riverman) are all well-developed and executed effectively.