Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Yucky Movies of October (Jay's Movie Reviews edition): It's Alive (2009)

We continue the month o' Yuck with a flick that actually has some gore and grue in it for a change, a little title I reviewed for the lovely people over at dvdsnapshot.com called...

13) IT'S ALIVE (2009)


When a young woman (Bijou Phillips) learns she is pregnant, she leaves graduate school to move to the country with her boyfriend in this remake of the classic 1970s horror film. The fate of the happy new family takes a gruesome turn when animals and people end up brutally dead - all with a strange connection to their newborn. Could their new child be the monster responsible for the gruesome murders?

The original It's Alive is a sentimental favorite of mine from it's many airings on USA during my childhood. For some reason the mix of Larry Cohen's social commentary and killer mutant babies attacking milkmen stuck with me. The waxy plaster puppet babies in the first one hold a lot of nostalgia, but seeing them rendered with CGI might be fun, so I was open to seeing this remake/reimagining - a film I think I would like better if I wasn't a fan of the first one.

It's Alive stars Bijou Phillips, and her grating speaking voice, as an expectant mother forced into an early C-section by a baby that's ready to get out into the world at the end of the second trimester. Later on, the police are questioning her to find out what she remembers of the procedure as 2 doctors and 2 nurses were slaughtered during the procedure... now who do you think could've done that?

Also featuring James Murray from the TV series Primeval, It's Alive features some decent CGI gore, Bulgaria filling in for New Mexico(!), and sadly, a storyline not much stronger than candy floss. There's not a lot of density to the storyline besides "let's cover up for our killer baby," although a bit with mother correcting him for eating a bird is awfully amusing. The story goes from point A to B to C without much depth. Even by horror movie standards, the character of the friend who clearly exists solely to get knocked off is a flimsy character. It’s a claustrophobic story with isolated characters and action, so when things start to feel draggy early on, that's not a good sign. The movie's only 84 minutes long.

The core concept and a little of the original’s sly wit remain in this remake (gnawed while nursing, anyone?), but on the whole, this one can’t hold a candle to it.

Trailers for the giant bug horror comedy Infestation, the Charlize Theron Oscar-Winner Monster, Jeremy Sisto (unbelievable as a priest) and Kristin Chenoweth (more unbelievable as a street walker) in Into Temptation, the Dolph Lundgren (least convincing of all as a rock star) hostage film Command Performance.
The disc also features the trailer for It's Alive. Audio options are spoken English audio in 5.1 surround and 2.0 stereo Subtitles are available in English and Spanish.

If you have seen the original and enjoy it, this is worth viewing to compare. If you haven't seen it and have no intention to, well, you should reconsider. But if you don't, then you should at least catch this one. There’s a few thrills, and you’ll only be offended if you don’t like the central conceit of monster babies (and who doesn't like monster babies?).

Otherwise, it’s a decent picture to screen for friends... and baby showers.


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