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Doctor Elizabeth Barnes (Tiffany Shepis) is the latest addition to a
top secret and highly illegal research group on stem cell research
financed by Dr Walton (Ed Lauter) and headed by ruthless Marcus Grohn
(Louis Mandylor). She has personbal reasons why she joins the group, so
she doesn't ask too many questions, like where all the human live
specimens come from (They are drug addicts and the like kidnapped right
off the streets). From day one, Elizabeth faces fierece opposition from
Doctor Victoria Travelle (Patti Tindall), but this actually only motivates
her. Then, one of the specimens, Kima (Zena Otsuka), dies, and Grohn gives
Elizabeth a shot at reviving her. Elizabeth succeeds inasmuch as she
manages to revive Kima - but Kima has turned into a murderous monster and
ultimately Marcus shoots her.
Kima's death causes some problems, because
she had a boyfriend among the guards, David (Scott Anthony Leet), and now
David wants revenge, and if he can't get revenge, he at least wants money,
much money ... and instead he gets a bullet in the head from Marcus
Marcus is not one to bear grudges though, so he immediately
hands David's body over to his team of scientists to revive him - after
all, with most of his brain blown out, David will not remember anyways,
The experiment, this time headed by Victoria, succeeds, and
once David is brought back to life, Victoria takes a special interest in
him, and like a mother she educates him, makes him a normal human again -
but David exceeds all expectations by far, not only does he learn reading,
writing and whatever else there is in record time, before long he also
manages the art of mind-reading. And he realizes he wants Elizabeth, but
Elizabeth thinks he's a monster, and since he can read her mind ...
David seems to develop supernatural powers by the minute, but the stronger
he gets the more uncontrollable he gets, and only Victoria, whom he soon
calls mother, seems to have some power over him. Then David starts killing
people, and Marcus shoots him dead because the experiment has clearly gone
out of hand. Doc Walton decides to shut down the research facility
altogether and let his staff go ... but that's easier said than done,
because now David shuts everyone in with him, and slaughters everyone,
everyone but his mother of course. Oh, and he spares Elizabeth, though the
fate he has in store for her - he severs her spinal cord and rips off her
facial skin - might be worse than death.
And while Elizabeth spends the
rest of her life as a disfigured invalid, Victoria travels the country
selling david as the second coming of Christ (after all, he can turn water
into wine) ...
A radical reinterpretation of the Frankenstein-tale
that in manya aspects remains closer to the source than most other
adaptations, especially in the portrayal of the monster as both the
pathetic creature and the ruthless killer without favouring one over the
other, and the portrayal of the not-really-mad scientist as someone who
every now and again suspends his moral judgement and pretends to be blind
to the consequences of his doing as a sort of justification.
might sound a bit lofty, but in fact, The Frankenstein Syndrome is
a rather exciting, tense and quite gory low budget thriller, carried by an
uniformly excellent cast and a tight directorial effort, and the idea to
confine the film (mostly) to one location (the research lab) adds just the
right sort of claustrophobia to the proceedings the story needs.