Tuesday, October 20, 2015

It's Alive

2008  **

You may recall Julie and I had some fun with the original It's Alive series a ways back, and it happened to be the same year this remake came out.  I'd seen a trailer for it but the movie remained elusive, and we didn't get to complete the set that year.  It's unavailability was probably due to its direct-to-video status, which honestly was too good for it.

The problem with the Killer Baby notion is that the audience has to accept a monster that weighs at most around 15 pounds.  The original It's Alive got around that by hardly ever showing the baby and implying something that looked scary by the other actors' reactions.  And they managed the no-show aspect because immediately after killing every staff member in the delivery room, the critter scampered off.  The notion of a baby being born and right away killing everyone around it is pretty damn cool horror moment, in fact it's the best thing the It's Alive series has going for it.  

This remake has the same opening, with one key difference.  When the authorities enter the blood-soaked delivery room, the baby is lying peacefully on top of his mommy's tummy.  So it looks normal.  It's a normal-looking baby that can viciously kill people, and the movie never really shows you how that works.  The Holy Grail does a better job with its killer rabbit.  Oh, there's one scene in which Dad's finger gets cut by a tiny baby nail, which hints at something cool, but then hours and hours go by (crammed into 80 minutes somehow) and the big whammy comes and it's 1) a normal-looking baby hand punching through someone's face from the back and out the mouth, 2) a very dark scene featuring a baby on the wall above a guy and then it jumps on the guy's neck, and 3) that shot  I posted above, just like that, filling the screen and surrounded by darkness.  

There are numerous scenes of people looking lovingly at the baby and talking about how beautiful he is, so what's going on here?  It transforms, right?  That must be it.  So the whole movie I'm waiting for the big reveal, watching the blunt-force narrative unfold itself clumsily.  Okay, so the mom's in on it, covering up the mangled animals and later the larger stuff, because of course people come over and make trouble.  I wasn't enjoying the plot but I was looking forward to the crappy CG baby transformation that I knew was coming, hoping for something like this pint-sized murderous beastie from one of Marvel's old Captain Britain comics:

Now that's how you do a bloodthirsty monster baby!  Instead you get basically nothing.  Baby looks totally normal but can haul people into the back of a pickup truck with its eight inch long arms.   You look to the movie for help and it shrugs back at you.  I bitch a lot about movies that are too stingy with the monster, and I think this might be worse.  I think this time they actually forgot to put a monster in the monster movie.  Oy.


JPX said...

"I bitch a lot about movies that are too stingy with the monster". That sentence nailed on on the head for me. To date I have still not watched the new Godzilla movie because I was informed that Godzilla is only in it for 7 minutes! Christ if I could make a Godzilla movie my camera would never be off of him!

I think the problem with the It's Alive movies or any movies featuring killer dolls is that their small stature would make it virtually impossible to have any strength/leverage to actually jump on someone to kill them. I'm thinking about Evil Dead 2 when Ash's disembodied hand attacks him. It's an iconic scene in horror but how would that really work?

I never even knew that there was an It's Alive remake. I'm sorry it was a turd!

Catfreeek said...

First of all with all the movies out there to choose from to make a remake why in God's name would anyone choose It's Alive! "The Holy Grail does a better job with its killer rabbit" this cracked me up. Thanks for taking one for the team.

AC said...

Fabulous review, Octopunk!

Johnny Sweatpants said...

That comic book image is awesome!

I too did not know of this remake. Guess we'll toss this in with Wicker Man, Omen, Psycho, The Fog, Friday the 13th and the dozens of other completely unnecessary remakes.

JPX said...

A Nightmare on Elm Street, When a Stranger Calls, Poltergeist, The Evil Dead, Night of the Living Dead...