Sunday, November 29, 2009

It's Alive 2008

It's Alive 2008
Director: Joseph Rusnak
Writers: Larry Cohen, Paul Sopacy and James Portolese
Starring Bijou Phillips, James Nurray, Raphael Coleman, Skye Bennett, Owen Teal, Ty Glaser, Arkie Reece and Todd Jensen

This was a remake I was looking forward to seeing because I was never a big fan of the 1974 original film. When I think Larry Cohen I usually think of The Stuff, that is my favorite work of his. I am pleased to say that this is a superior remake and in my estimation loads better than the original. It has a great cast which is well anchored by the performance of Bijou Phillips, a solid story with a nice and plausible explanation of why the baby is a mutated aberration and great gore and splendid kills. I think another reason the film worked so well was the dynamic of the mother protecting her child at any costs no matter what the cost. This made the film had a lot of similarities to the recent baby shocker Grace. But, where that film was mainly interested in skewing and satirizing things like new age fads, It's Alive was more interested in being a scary and suspenseful horror film. And I believe it really succeeded on those terms. This was one of the big surprises in horror I have seen recently, I was not expecting much but this film really delivered the goods.
The plot basics are this, Lenore (Phillips) is in college and expecting her first child and she decides to take a leave of absence to have the baby and raise it a bit before returning to her studies. She goes to live out in the country with her architect boyfriend Franck (Murray). Everything is going well until the fetus had doubled in size and then the doctors have to go ahead and perform a Caesarean. Everything goes well until they cut the umbilical cord and the baby kills everyone in the surgery room except for Lenore. When she comes out of the room Lenore is questioned by the police but she remembers nothing and is allowed to go home. Though, the police want her to talk to a psychologist to see if they can discover anything she may remember. Soon, the baby bites her, while she is breastfeeding and discovers a taste of blood and soon Lenore is covering up the trail of bodies her baby is leaving behind him. Lenore refuses to believe her baby has something wrong and it comes down to Franck and his wheelchair bound brother (Coleman) to put a end to the insanity.
This was a great horror film. Rusnak's direction is taut and palatable. He sets up the tension of what the baby might be and slowly reveals it scene by scene. He films the attack scenes very expertly, and you never see much of the baby attacking and that works really well. The script is very well done too. The viewer really gets to feel the pain and discomfort Lenore feels as she tries to protect her homicidal newborn. Also, the explanation of why the baby is mutated is handled really well and I totally accepted Lenore's reasoning. The cast is good, I loved Phillips as Lenore, she was the anchor of the film and you felt everything that she felt and sympathized with her. I also liked Bennett as her college friend, she was very annoying and I think that was how she was supposed to come across and I think that is why her death is the most fulfilling for me. The SFX and the effects are great too, you never see much of the baby and that really works well for the film. The deaths were bloody and fun, especially when Bennett gets killed and you see the baby's hand come out of her mouth. This was a great film and it proves what can happen when a remake makes the story it's own. You sometimes come back with a superior story.
This one gets 5 out of 5

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