Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Bijou Phillips, James Murray
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Special Interests
Studio: First Look Home Entertain Release Date: 10/06/2009 Rating: R
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WHY DO I SUBJECT MYSELF TO WATCHING THESE DAMN REMAKES?
David J. Brown | 10/08/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Oh, yeah, I know why, because the majority of horror cinema offerings, when they're not sequels, are friggin' remakes! Right. That's the real reason why horror remakes make dough. They get the mainstream simps to see them as if they were new and they get us real horror buffs to see them because we're so damn hungry for horror that we run out of food. Well, here we are with It's Alive 2009. Who in the hell would've thought that the 1972 Larry Cohen cheapie of the same name would be worthy of a remake over thirty years later? NO ONE! But here it is direct to video ready to be snatched up by the unsuspecting horror geek. I even had decent to high hopes for this remake seeing that Larry Cohen, the director and writer of the original(as well as Q: The Winged Serpent, Bone, God Told Me To, The Stuff), was involved in its screenplay. But, then there's two other names listed after his. Don't know much about this project honestly so I can't speculate on what his and the other screenwriter's contributions were, but I can tell we have a real mess of a horror film on our hands.
Lets talk first about the good things this remake does before we get to the real horror. They slanted the angle of the story from the original. Sure, they did the usual 'youthing' up of the main characters Frank Davis(James Murray) and Lorna(Bijou Phillips), but they also changed the main plot thrust. In the original film as soon as the mutant baby is born he's gone and everyone is out to find him. Father Frank has a bond with the mutant tot and tries to protect him despite the fact that his son is a monsterous killer. In this remake they scaled the story down. It mostly takes place in a secluded country home in New Mexico. Our newly young couple are barely out of college and lets say the pregnancy wasn't planned. The slant now is how mother Lorna is losing her mind and pulling a Norman Bates for her monster child. There's great material to be mined here regarding post-pardem syndrome and what a mother's love really is, but I assure you you won't find any of that culled in this film--but that's a negative and we'll save that for the next paragraph. Secondly, the only other good thing about this film, is Nicholas Pike's(Sleepwalkers, The Stand) score. It's good and only slightly nostalgic for the original's Bernard Herman score. That's it.
Like I mentioned, the story has so much room for satire and parable that I don't get why the filmmakers settled for doing a typical 'little critter' sneaks up with the camera lense as its point of view thing. Mutant baby kills, Lorna cleans and hides it up. Rinse and repeat for about an hour. Then we get to our climax where two cops and our dimwitted Frank finally realize something weird is going on with Lorna and her not too oftenly seen baby. That's the other thing, we never see the baby--human or mutant. I'm not really sure how this thing works, honestly. It's born and seen as a normal baby. Frank looks at his son as a normal kid. But, the thing has claws and razor sharp teeth when it attacks to feed. So, what's the deal? Does the baby shape shift into a monster or what? I suppose so or the character of Frank may get the award for the worst father of the entire existance of fathers. The movie never gives you any visual information in this regard so I'm just making huge assumptions, assuming that the filmmakers don't think the viewer's stupid enough to believe that Frank never notices his son's claws or sharp teeth. I could be wrong. In the original film we only saw glimpses of the baby and when we did it was a combination of a puppet and make up effect both created by the legendary Rick Baker(American Werewolf In London, Gorillas in the Mist, Harry and the Hendersons). The remake doesn't show much of the baby either, actually this remake shows it even less then the original, but when it does appear in full mutant mode it is completely CGI, and not very convincing. We get glimpses of CGI claws, CGI snarling faces and body parts, but only in flashes and just long enough to not be convincing still. Worst of all is the creature design, what little you get to see of it, is really lame. The mutant baby in this film resembles the green toilet dwelling Ghoulie but pink. He's laughable. At least in the original the creature's visage was genuinely eerie and kind of creepy.
The acting is all foregettable. Bijou Phillips does the best transitioning she can muster from normal Grad student, to fumbling mother, to complete nutcase, but the hack script never writes her any convincing bits of pathos to peform the transitions. Unless, I missed soemthing, at the end when all the bodies are found, the cops have arrived, mommy Lorna has lost it, and Frank is being questioned in his own basement for the murders of missing psycholigists and others, Frank seems to know his baby is killing everyone. How? He comes home to find his wife rocking in a chair in the baby's room. The baby is missing, and in the crib is mutilated remains and he spots a hole in the wall. Up until this point in the film Frank hasn't even noticed anything funny going on(though, what idiot wouldn't notice how strange his wife is acting?). When he finds the corpses in his basement and the sheriff corners him, he just suddenly knows his baby is a super strengthed, monster, mutant kid. Huh? Did I miss something? Could this script be this lazily and sloppily written or is there some deleted scenes I'm not aware of? Don't know, and really don't care. I doubt it would change my opinion of this film that substantially. In the original both parents were conflicted and felt very real. In this remake Frank seems like a dimwitt and the script has Lorna playing the nutty card way too early.
Listen, the bottom line is the original is a grindhouse classic. It has satirical undertones, regarding what caused the Davis baby mutation, and a creepy creature. It plays with the typical Frankenstein's monster convention of what the creator owes the creations, and how far paternal love is willing to go. This remake has a nugget of that in it with the mother character and her unflinching committment to protecting her son's secret, but it's all written and played as if she is only doing it because she has lost her mind. Though, I give this remake some kudos for not giving an over blown back story to the mutant baby(Leatherface has a skin condition--WAH, Michael Myers came from poor abusive red knecks--WAH, Jason misses his mommy--WAH). The remake keeps the cause of the mutation in the scientific, pseudo-science would be more accurate, realm by alluding to the mutation being caused by experimental drugs taken by Lorna to inspire a miscarriage. It's a brief scene and seems stuffed into the film just for the giggles of it. This flick is a mess. There's some good ideas floating around but nothing of interest was done with any of them. NOTHING IN THIS FILM MAKES IT EVIDENT WHY THE ORIGINAL WAS WORTH REMAKING. Why even remake this film? Is the title "It's Alive" even a name brand? Is it name brand enough to warrant renting or purchasing a ticket based on it? Have any of you people even seen the film that this one is a remake of? Do any of you know who Larry Cohen is? Doesn't matter. Cheap production. Cheap motivations. All equaling a take the money and run remake---which is a term I am now inventing to replace the old one, Take the money and run sequel. BLECH!"
metal1121 | 10/11/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Trust me when I say this movie is bad. The production was terrible. The people talking was low and the music was loud. The acting isn't worth anything and the ending was not only open-ended, it didn't make much sense. Everything that can be wrong with a movie is in this one. Don't be fooled because you recognize the name. This isn't worth your time."
It's Alive...here and there
Crawlspace Man | USA | 10/08/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"It's a shame about this one. I was really looking forward to it since I am a rabid Larry Cohen fan. When I found out he wrote the original draft of the remake's script, I was psyched. But, alas, I was a bit disappointed with the finished product. I thought it actually had a cool B-movie thing going on for a while, with some good, rustic atmosphere and some fun, awkward dialogue. However, there was very little graphic violence which, for my money, a good B horror movie should have. I know a lot of people don't share that opinion, but if I'm gonna watch a movie about a maniacal killer infant, I want to see some serious, fun grue. The pacing was also inconsistent and the husband character was completely clueless. I did kind of like the abrupt, down-beat ending even if it didn't have much visceral punch. For all of my complaining, though, I did find the film passable and better than its buzz had suggested to me. Give it a try if you're a Cohen fan. Maybe you'll dig it."
Described with 1 word: Garbage
Frederick Pangborn | NJ United States | 03/20/2010
(1 out of 5 stars)
"The original 1974 version was nothing to write home about and this movie is beyond that! I wound up fast forwarding through the majority of this movie! How in the world is a new born baby capable of throwing people around like the Hulk???? Are you kidding me!? This was one of the worst movies I've seen in a while! Don't waste your time!"