Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Review - It's Alive (2008)

From Blogger Pictures

It's Alive is a remake of the 1974 film of the same name except that beyond the killer baby motif absolutely nothing is the same as the original.

Directed by Josef Rusnak (The Thirteenth Floor) and written by Larry Cohen (Q, It's Alive III, Phonebooth), Paul Sopocy (new Thundercats?!) and James Portolese (JCVD's Until Death) this is a re-imagining of a film that really didn't need to see the light of day. It's Alive would have to work very hard from the off to justify it's existence.

Just before the end of her semester at college, Lenore Harker (Bijou Phillips) leaves to have a baby with her architect boyfriend Franck (James Murray) at his remote log cabin in the woods. After discovering the baby has doubled in size in just a month they have to extract the baby by caesarian section, without Franck being present. As the doctor cuts the umbilical cord all hell breaks loose, with the baby killing every doctor and nurse in the operating room. When we cut back to the new mother, baby is asleep on her stomach and the room is painted a lovely shade of blood red.

After questioning by the police Lenore is allowed back home with her baby (after all, a baby killing people would be ridiculous!) and is left to get on with her life while they organise a psychologist to help her try to remember anything. It's not long before Death Baby™ bites Lenore when she's feeding him and his taste for blood is revealed.

Gradually the baby gets the taste for rats, cats and penguins* before progressing to killing fully-grown people. As Lenore refuses to accept her baby is seriously messed up it comes down to wheelchair bound kid Chris (Raphaƫl Coleman) and school chum Nicole (Skye Bennett) to save the day.

As you may have guessed by now I wasn't a fan of It's Alive 2008 and by all accounts neither was anybody else involved in it. To give you an example of how bad this movie is most of the actors, while having it on their IMDb CV, don't have their character name credited to them (or have the wrong details), the official site no longer exists and they were so sure it'd would have no appeal that they put (UK) 18 rated trailers onto a (UK) 15 rated film just to get the trailers out to more people**.

The film is ridiculous from the outset where it's revealed the baby has doubled in size in month 4 of Lenore's pregnancy, just after revealing she only had a couple of months left of school. If they hadn't known the baby would have to be delivered immediately why would she leave college with just a couple of months to go if she would only be 6 months pregnant by the time term finished. 

Next up [spoilers] the reason we're given for the demon child is that Lenore took abortion pills that she bought online. A timely reminder that unregulated online pharmacies are dangerous or ridiculous plot device? You decide![/spoilers]

Rusnak wisely decides not to show us any of the killings, instead spraying fountains of blood in the air and leaving a trail of corpses to find. I say wisely but it's more likely that they couldn't think of any decent way to show a child killing people like a deliberately starved school of angry piranhas. If he was going to attempt to explain the babies' existence the least he could have done was attempt to explain how the baby managed to kill everybody. To be fair, I think I had a couple of 'long blinks' (read fell asleep) during the movie, it was that boring, so I may have missed some ridiculous plot device.

The original It's Alive is by no means a classic but despite the script, acting, budget, editing and directing all being better in this 2008 remake, the newer version comes off worse as really by now we should know better about how to make horror films.

*Okay, there were no penguins, but that would be no less ridiculous.

** Speculation.

ZC Barry writes for Zombie Command; a UK based zombie website featuring zombie news, reviews and interviews.

2 comments:

Kelly Hogaboom said...

"Rusnak wisely decides not to show us any of the killings, instead spraying fountains of blood in the air and leaving a trail of corpses to find. I say wisely but it's more likely that they couldn't think of any decent way to show a child killing people like a deliberately starved school of angry piranhas."

Yeah, no kidding. Your description reminded me of the killer / zombie baby from Dead Alive (Peter Jackson). Prolly any scene of a baby on a murderous rampage would go down as unintentionally funny.

Thx for the review!

Anonymous said...

I liked it. With the exception of the abortion pill cause. I thought it was scary, and that's why I watch horror movies. I don't need to see all the carnage to get that feeling, and most of the time the scariest movies don;t show the carnage. Just to credit myself, I don't know anyone that has seen more horror films than I have. So I know a little.

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