29th Jun2020

‘Alive’ VOD Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Angus Macfayden, Camille Stopps, Thomas Cocquerel, Chantal Perron, Gerrick Winston, Zoe Marlett, Lisa Moreau | Written by Chuck McCue, Jules Vincent | Directed by Rob Grant

Spearheaded by Hostel and the Saw franchise, the ‘torture porn’ sub-genre of horror (an unfair title perhaps) was not well-liked at the time despite some big money makers, and it’s not something film lovers have been desperately wanting a resurgence of. But Alive does very much feel like it would fit in that mold from the early 2000’s.

A severely injured man and woman wake up next to each other in an abandoned hospital. The remember very little about themselves or each other but do have ‘flashbacks’ that attempt to jog their memory. They soon discover who is keeping them locked up when the caretaker/doctor appears and is their only hope to find out who they are and help with any chance of escaping.

I have mentioned torture porn but Alive never felt like gore and injury just for the sake of it. Yes, there is plenty of blood and guts but the threat of injury is often there more than actual injury shown on camera. It never feels too much and because of that, when there is real violence and gore, it does mean something. It’s not just another moment in a long list of gory moments. There’s one stabbing scene that felt more brutal than anything else. That said, there’s definitely a The Human Centipede influence here too and I know that will turn some people off (it really shouldn’t though!).

The make-up effects for all this gore are top notch. An eye injury being the highlight, even when up close it looked pretty damn horrific. But there were plenty of other cuts and wounds and weapon shots. Lots of care was taken in ensuring the violence and impact of it looked realistic and it shows.

The caretaker and ‘villain’ of Alive is played by veteran Scottish actor Angus Macfayden. At times here’s almost too clichéd but in the end the character works really well. The more ridiculous and slasher villain-like it got (there are a few Jason Voorhees comparisons here) the more I enjoyed the role. He just kept attacking and attacking no matter what was thrown at him. It could have seemed a bit silly but I liked it. The other two leads were played by Camille Stopps and Thomas Cocquerel. And while both put in decent performances, the characters don’t have too much depth too them and they just end up playing the typical slasher movie victim. A lot of running, escaping and occasional fighting back.

At about the seventieth minute mark, you start to wonder where it is heading. There’s another twenty minutes left and it feels like its reached its natural conclusion but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The revelations start happening and thankfully are interesting and only enhance the movie.

Director Rob Grant released this and Harpoon in quick succession. I did much prefer Harpoon but there’s plenty to enjoy with Alive too. They are two very different movies proving that as a director he can create different styles and I’m sure whatever he does next will be exciting. When Alive embraces its over-the-topness, it’s at its most fun and becomes a nice addition to the classic slasher movies. Modern slashers are few and far between now so I’m not oppose a second movie with the same character.

*** 3/5

Alive is available on iTunes, Amazon, Sky Store, Virgin and Google Play now, courtesy of Blue Finch Films.

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