Saturday, December 31, 2011

It's Alive (2008)

I'm a big fan of Larry Cohen. He's one of my favourite screenwriters and directors and often revisits his old and new classics with the same happiness as before. But I need to say that one of his most famous movies, It's Alive - and the two sequels - are the weakest in his career. They have brilliant ideas, but are boring and talky and never take off into that awesome Larryland we love so much. According to me, a humble and slightly stupid film nerd in Sweden at least. But on the other hand, I love movies with killer babies and that's why I finally sat down and watched the remake of It's Alive, with the same title, shot in Bulgaria and with Bijou Phillips and James Murray as the parents of the monstrosity!

Lenore and Frank are a young couple who's finally having their first baby. But something goes wrong at the hospital and when Lenore wakes up again the doctor and the nurses are dead and the police is search the area for the killer or killers. But the baby are ok, they think... A little while later Lenore starts finding dead, half-eaten, animals around the house and she slowly understand that it's her infant son, Daniel, who's responsible. Like all good mother she does everything to protect him, but soon he also start to attack people and Frank is suspecting something is very, very wrong...

Except the beginning of the movie, It's Alive is more closer to the excellent 1991 killer baby-movie The Unborn and never goes further into the territory created by Cohen in the seventies. This is a sad thing, because I always loved Cohen's ideas and a movie like this could always get better when using more radical, edgy twists. But the new version is also way more fun and completely lacks the endless boring scenes of talking heads that plagues the original film. Sometime the easy way out can also be the best way to go.

It took me a while to get used to Bijou Phillips odd acting style and her even weirder voice, but after a while I realized that this was a very good choice of actress - because she feels very innocent and when the shit finally hits then fan she turns dark and nasty to a twisted little bitch. I'm impressed. James Murray's job is mostly to look good, but he and Bijou fits together and they are a convincing and cute couple who have to face their worst fears. This is a movie shot in Bulgaria, so that means most supporting actors and extras are not so American-looking and the locations look both like something from the Eastern Europe, but with an interesting American flair. The house where our family lives in looks hilarious, like an abandoned country-themed restaurant out in nowhere. A very odd choice of location.

One nice detail is that the same kind of stroller used on the original movie poster makes a cameo later on in the movie. I like that.

The gore? Yeah, it's mostly bloody - but has some graphic and fun violence. I love how the baby acts like a piranha when he chews the legs off people! But mostly they filmmakers focused on spraying a lot of blood, almost like from an old Samurai movie, whenever the baby attacks a poor victim.

It's Alive is a fun, violent and twisted movie. It lacks the originality, but it wins when it comes to entertainment and gore. 

1 comment:

forestofthedead said...

I loved this film too.
It's simple gory entertainment. That's what I like in a movie.