ALIVE. Reaffirmed V's Love for Indie Horror Film!!!
I am loving this resurgence in independent horror and sci-fi so much. The normal trappings of the genre have been under a beautiful assault in a way that would make John Carpenter and Hitchcock proud. It is not that these films have been absent from the scene. In the pseudo-contemporary landscape, 1997's CUBE is absolutely mind-blowing. I am guessing that they are just getting more outlets in forms such as Shudder, Netflix, Amazon Prime, various genre festivals, etc. This particular film, Rob Grant's "ALIVE." played last night at the NYC Horror Film Festival and I am sure the audience went gaga.
Reviewing this film in any fashion that breaks down the plot in any way that is not at the highest level would be to ruin all the surprises that the film delivers. Basically, the film begins with an unnamed man and woman (Thomas Cocquerel and Camille Stopps) that are lying bloodied and in various stages of surgical post-op. They are cared for by a demented doctor played brilliantly in a complete 180-degree performance by Angus Macfayden. The bulk of the movie is the two main "patients" trying to escape their makeshift hospital and doctor to find freedom and get an idea of who they really are. They have only little tidbits of memories of what life might have been like before this moment. Basically, why are we here, who are we and how do we get out are the questions that need to be answered. To say any more would ruin this film.
Camille Stopps and Angus Macfayden turn in great performances with the appropriately creepy chemistry that was absolutely necessary to make this piece work. The script was expertly written and executed by Rob Grant, a director I will be following from now on.
The only drawbacks I could find for the film ended up being one its greatest assets. The film builds at a slow pace that seems like it is not really getting anywhere. This is ok in a theater setting, but may be a liability in a streaming landscape where millions of hours of content are competing for your eyes. The slow build has huge payoffs, but it was a hill to climb despite the great performances initially. It was worth it in every way. I am sure that I will find this to be truer on repeat viewings.
This is a standout film in the 2018 catalog of horror!
V Versus the World