Don’t want to get too carried away about how much this new Brit zombie movie “Alive” sucks, but the “doctor” in a painfully amateurish opening scene gives “bad news” by putting on and taking off his glasses half a dozen times in just under a minute of screen time.
A fire scene early in the viral zombie apocalypse is staged in what is plainly a fire department’s narrow high rise training tower.
Every new sequence its own dose of “What fresh hell is this?”
“Alive” is a sloppy mashup of “The Handmaid’s Tale” and Every Zombie Movie Ever Made.
The virus hits a culture that seems resigned to it, I have to say. Keep Calm and Give Up, apparently. Even those fleeing seem dispirited.
The brain-eaters have the good sense to be able to dodge gunfire and the good grace to make that generic monster clicking/gurgling noise common to everything from “Predator” movies to “Jurassic Park” installments.
Makes it harder for them to sneak up on you, you see.
Our writer-director, David Marantz, clumsily establishes multiple characters to follow — a little boy (Daniel May-Gohrey, his 15 year-old sister (Ellen Hillman) and her boyfriend (Kian Pritchard), an armed, crazed “End is Nigh” preacher (Stuart Matthews) and his “Huh, he finally got THAT right” flock, and a lone hunter (Neil Sheffield) holed-up in a cottage in the woods.
I suppose the zombies who stumble into the hunter but refuse to chase him across a creek are meant to reinforce the notion of an “island off the south coast” where these Brits can hide out and hold out and restart civilization. Zombies afraid of water, and all that.
Of course, the island, promoted on desperate radio broadcasts, has a catch attached. They’re really interested in “women (and girls) capable of bearing children.”
The picture puts these disparate groups on the road, and then stops undead in its tracks when the production got hold of what looks like an old school for a location. The bulk of the film is show there, where the action is limited and the kids try to fend off the cult with the help of the hunter and they’re all wondering if they have enough ammo to keep the walking dead at bay.
The acting ranges from poor to middling, with the direction and editing making everybody in it look new to this whole “movie” thing. Cuts begin before the take’s action kicks in, and pause afterwards for a long beat or two before the next shot is edited in.
It’s a bad zombie movie that staggers to a halt and turns worse.
Rating: PG-13, violence
Cast: Ellen Hillman, Kian Pritchard, Neil Sheffield, Gillian Broderick, Daniel May-Gohrey and Stuart Matthews.
Credits: Scripted and directed by David Marantz. A Gravitas release.
Running time: 1:32