Thursday, December 11, 2014

Strange Killers: It's Alive (2008)

I hate being right.  I went into the Remake of It's Alive thinking 'This is going to suck.'  Yeah, I called it.  To be fair, I have a certain bias against Horror Remakes.  Yes, there are good ones...but not as many as there should be.  For neat ones like House of Wax (1953), there are bad House of Wax (2005).  In defense of this Film as a theoretical, I can see why you might think that there is more that you can do with It's Alive.  CGI is available now and there are certainly new ways to tell/play with the Story.  They...don't do a good job with either.  In this Film, we follow a pregnant woman (Bijou Phillips) who delivers early, but that is not the worst thing.  Her baby is a killer and now she has to deal with it.  Will she be proactive or just let the horror continue?  I'm not afraid to SPOIL this one, since, well, why not?  To find out why some things are better left alone, read on...
This lady (on the right) is pregnant and plans to take time off from College to move in with her fiancee.
In way-too-convenient timing, she goes into labor (at 6 months) THE DAY SHE MOVES IN WITH HIM!  Her baby is quite large- especially for a premature birth-, so she must have a C-Section.
Once she goes under, something happens in the Operating Room that kills all but her and the baby.  Overkill on the blood, maybe?
Her baby looks normal- despite being large- but apparently has teeth and an appetite for flesh!

I'm not a parent, but how bad are you when your baby can wander out of the house and kill a rabbit?
Whenever someone outside the family (which includes the fiancee and his crippled brother) visits the house, they die.

This baby...can punch through your face and kill you?  I'm...I'm not sure how that is supposed to work.
In a later scene, it sneaks out of the house, hides in some lumber (in a truck bed), kills a guy, hides the body and then kills his girlfriend.

There's a reason why the Film glosses over how this works- silly.
They don't outright explain monster baby, but Phillips does confess to taking some pills to end the pregnancy right after she found out.  Is the dangling Plot Thread from the Original being addressed?

No, it's just stupid.
After the baby kills two Cops (right!), Dad catches it and takes it away from the house to give it the 'Old Yeller' treatment.  He can't do it, leading to him being attacked (but not killed).  Okay.
Phillips ultimately takes the baby back in the house and stays inside with it as the house burns down Corman-style.  No explanation or follow-up, huh?  The End.
This is just not good.  Where do I begin?  As a Remake, it does not hold up to the Original.  As an Original Film, it...just doesn't really deliver either.  It is a weird case of giving you a schlocky Film with no good pay-off.  You don't get any good glimpse of the monster baby, despite what this Review might imply.  It was *really* hard to get the seconds of actual baby footage capped.  The Original gives you a crazy, Rick Baker-designed creature that looks like a monster.  This one gives you what is supposed to be a perfectly-normal-looking baby, despite it having super-strength, enhanced reflexes and razor teeth.  Hell, having teeth alone is something!  They show you a Scene late in the Film where the Father dotes over the baby and sees nothing out of the ordinary.  If this was some supernatural thing, I could almost believe that it could change a la a Werewolf or something.  How about the scene later when the couple are going at it and he doesn't notice the scars on her breast from the creature's teeth.  Are you that inattentive to her body?  If you go into this expecting something to really exploit the 'monster baby' idea, you will be sorely disappointed.  This raises the question: why make a 'monster baby' Film that plays it serious?  Unless you expect people to go in expecting nothing- in which case, why do a Remake?-, this makes no sense.  This will disappoint people expecting the silly and those expecting something believable.  It just sucks.  I'll leave you with this shot that is supposed to, scary, I guess...
Next up, a Made-For-TV Gem that its Stars regret making.  Will it live up to its infamy or just be hilarious?  Stay tuned...

1 comment:

  1. Is this the one where the house is some fancy architectural showcase out in the forest?
    I recall laughing at it because of preposterously rich and attractive the young couple seem to be vs. the older, poorer, ordinary looking couple in the original film.
    It's a good example comparison that lines up stuff I like about films of the 70s and early 80s... the 'bad' lighting (there are actually shadows!), ordinary looking people, their cars, homes, furnishings don't look like they bought them right before the movie started.
    Yeah, this remake was pretty crappy and had none of the weird charm of the original.