Director – David Marantz
Starring – Ellen Hillman, Kian Pritchard, and Neil Sheffield (Covid-19, Witchcraft X: Mistress of the Craft)
Release Date – 2023
Rating – 3/5
I’m starting to find myself more and more interested in zombie flicks. Zombie films were what got me started in horror but my love for The Walking Dead comics and subsequent television adaptation ruined the sub-genre for me. The thousands of clones oversaturated the market and the idea of watching a rag tag group of survivors attempt to portray iconic characters with no experience made for a dull till. Hell, most of these “horror” movies were just dramas at best with zombies in the back ground.
When I received the press release for the zombie flick Alive, I didn’t know what to expect. The trailer made it look like another one of those zombie films that I’ve been avoiding the last decade or so, but I decided to give it a go since I was watching another zombie flick titled Z-ero. I’m glad I went against my own judgement and gave it a chance because I really enjoyed it.
**Spoiler Alert** The film takes place in a world ravaged by disease. Those infected grave living flesh. Those that are newly infected can ward it off temporarily with raw meat but sooner or later the craving for human flesh grows too strong and there is no turning back. We follow a lone man who is barricaded in his home but finds himself face to face with unwelcomed guests when a young man, his girlfriend, and her little sister break in seeking refuge. They are searching for an island that is said to be safe for the uninfected with hopes of finding a cure for the recently infected boy. He lets them spend the night and takes them into town the next day where there is a generator where they can charge their GPS. However, they soon run into a former religious man and his followers who have plans for the young woman forcing the group to separate resulting in a fight for survival pitting them against the living and undead. **Spoiler Alert**
Alive is not going to be for everyone but fans of no budget zombie flicks will really appreciate this simple and effective zombie tale. The story may sound like a film modeled after TWD with survivors fighting among themselves with zombies taking the backseat but that is not the case. While there is skirmishes between survivors, the film flows more like classic films like Dawn and Day of the Dead where the “good” survivors fight to survive from the “bad” survivors who eventually get what they deserve.
The acting in this one is not the worst I’ve seen. In fact, I was impressed for the most part. However, there was a few scenes where the cast felt rushed and the cast looked stiff. The cast is able to deliver solid performances for most of the film so I am very curious as to why some of these scenes feel so out of place.
The story for this one really does feel like a no budget love letter to Romero and his original Dead trilogy before he moved on to Land, Diary, and Survival. If you take the social commentary out of films like Dawn and Day of the Dead then you will have something in the tune to Alive. It’s character driven set in the back drop of a zombie apocalypse. It doesn’t feel like a Walking Dead melodrama and you are genuinely curious to see what happens to characters. It does drag it’s feet through several scenes but what film doesn’t hit a dry spell.
Finally, the film is not as bloody or violent as you would expect from a zombie flick. We get a little blood and some make-up effects but nothing memorable or that stands out. I was hoping for some gore or classic kills but the film does not deliver in that regard. Overall, Alive is a breathe of fresh air into a stagnant and dull sub-genre. I highly recommend checking this one out.