The premise is interesting in its modern day approach. A group of researchers, which recently brought aboard scientist Elizabeth Barnes (Shepis) into the fold, are conducting illegal stem cell research in a secret location. Their research runs the risk of the doctors and scientists being ostracized and even prosecuted harshly by law if their research methods were made public. However, with the notion of being able to regenerate dead tissue and its impact to the medical profession, the scientists are willing to waive some ethical notions for what they consider to be the better good.
We begin to get an idea of just how eagerly twisted the project engulfs when we learn of vagrants and runaways that are locked away and used for the cultivation of human stem cells. But things take a more serious turn when they begin human trials and more specifically with a test subject by the name of David Doyle. David is a beast of a man to begin with and works as part of the labs security team. But when an accident leads to Doyle's attempts to sue to establishment, he is instantly murdered and used in the team's experiments.
The stem cell serum works better than any could have predicted and Doyle regains full consciousness. But they soon learn that he has other powers as well. Doyle is able to read minds and can move things telepathically. Add in his psychosis and treatment as a captive and you have the basis for grizzly behavior.
Doyle soon takes revenge on the team (except for his 'mother' Victoria played by Patti Tindall) and you can expect blood and pain to be part of his reprisal.
The Frankenstein Syndrome is played in flashback as the film opens with the Shepis character (wearing a mask and occupying a wheelchair for reasons to be revealed in the final chapter) giving a deposition as to events that occurred in the lab. Director Sean Tretta (The Greatest American Snuff Film) does a good job of developing characters and allowing the audience to connect to the cast.
There is violence in The Frankenstein Syndrome, but unlike most direct-to-DVD horrors it doesn't trump the story or engulf the characters. The screenplay (also by Sean Tretta) can take credit for most of the films triumphs. The dialogue is genuine and, at times, intelligent and helps propel the film from the ordinariness of its peers.
The Frankenstein Syndrome might not go down as one of the top 10 Frankenstein films of all-time, but it is a worthy entry. And one that definitely entertains its audience of Igors.