Writer-director David Wickes, who has already reinterpreted Jekyll & Hyde for ABC and Jack the Ripper for CBS, hews faithfully to the heart of Mary Shelley’s deathless 1816 horror story: His monster (Randy Quaid) and scientist (Patrick Bergin) are linked in their spiritual peril, condemned to chase each other to the ends of the earth. As Dr. Victor Frankenstein, Bergin (Sleeping With the Enemy) beams frigid stares at anyone who interferes with his lust for scientific advancement; even when he’s rescued from near death in the Arctic while chasing his rampaging creation, he’s soulless on ice, a man who has substituted science for God. But what a creation! With his unfinished head and neck bulging with ropy veins, Frankenstein’s monster looks more like a vulnerable space alien than a hulking menace. Quaid (LBJ: The Early Years) commands empathy while avoiding sentimentality, managing to convey curiosity, dignity, and loyalty to the blind peasant who befriends him (British veteran actor John Mills of Ryan’s Daughter, in a fine underplayed performance), as well as murderous rage at the man who brought him into the world so ill- equipped. This is a hyperdramatic production – there’s a whole lot of brooding going on-but its strength is in its refreshingly religious overtones. B+
Posted January 17 2015 — 3:29 AM EST
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