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Exhumed

cast: Masahiro Oyake, Hiroaki Itaya, Claire Westby, Moira Thomas, and Chelsey Arrentsen

director: Brian Clement

90 minutes (18) 2003
Scream House DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 7/10
reviewed by Alasdair Stuart
Another cheerfully high energy, zero-budget entry from Brian Clement, Exhumed is one of the most energetic, exuberant horror movies you'll see this year. Containing three stories, linked by the mysterious 'Mr Grey', it's a hugely ambitious piece that for the most part works very well.

The first part, Shi No Mori, sees a samurai and a monk teaming up to try and retrieve an artefact from the Forest of Death. A love letter to samurai movies, it's shot entirely in subtitles and is filled with zombies, savage violence and honour in the face of certain death.

The Shadow Of Tomorrow, the second story, is the highlight of the movie. A perfect recreation of 1950s' film noir, it follows intrepid female PI Jane DeCarlo as she takes on a case that takes in missing persons, mad science, a seedy club and of course, zombies. Shot in black and white, 'Tomorrow is the best looking of the three sections and also the most fun. Claire Westby is great as the unflappable, seen-it-all-before Jane Decarlo, taking everything in her stride with a look of faint disdain and a ready quip.

The Last Rumble, the final section, is the only point at which Clement's reach exceeds his grasp. Set in a future of constant war, it deals with the final conflict between vampires and werewolves, wonderfully presented here as Mods and Rockers. When the final battle is interrupted by human troops, a vampire and a werewolf are both kidnapped, to be used in an experiment, which proves central to every one of these three stories. Whilst the central idea is great, Clements' post-apocalyptic future looks suspiciously like the present day, although the creature makeup is effective and there are some great ideas on display, especially a throwaway gag dealing with a Mexican wrestler fighting zombies. However, for the first time there's simply too much going on here and the end result is a story that, whilst it provides a lot of the background for the film, is still strangely unsatisfying. However, this is offset somewhat by a brief return to Tomorrow, whose ending becomes entwined with that of The Last Rumble in an extremely ambitious way.

Very rarely has so much been achieved by so little, and the entire cast and crew are to be applauded for that. Ambitious, energetic and great fun, this is low-budget horror at it's best. Recommended.
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