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John’s Horror Corner: It’s Alive (2009), a gory over-the-top “baby horror” remake.

February 22, 2019

I saw the unrated version for this review.

MY CALL: Not a good remake, but a great way to giggle your way through some ridiculous, gory death scenes. MOVIES LIKE It’s Alive: For more pregnancy/baby horror, try Rosemary’s Baby (1968), The Unborn (1991), Grace (2009), The Night Feeder (1988), It’s Alive (1974, 1978, 1987), Inside (2016), Inside (2007), Still/Born (2017) and Good Manners (2017; As Boas Maneiras).

Born to perfectly normal and healthy parents, Frank (James Murray) and Lenore’s (Bijou Phillips; Venom, Hostel II, The Wizard of Gore) baby turns out to be a mutant monster in disguise. The gory birth scene is complete with a bloody disfigured fetus and an over-the-top slaughter of the operating room staff. But once the blood-soaked and even dismembered bodies were cleared, Sgt Perkins (Owen Teale; Game of Thrones) only finds a perfectly normal baby and the unconscious mother on the operating table.

Their baby boy is above average in more ways than birth weight. Just days old and the infant scratches his father and draws blood, rolls over on his own, and then apparently starts wandering around and killing small animals around the house! And like we saw in Grace (2009), this kid is no picnic when it comes to bitey breastfeeding. The infant functions as a weremonster, appearing like a normal baby until it becomes aggressive. When the baby attacks, blood jettisons across the room as if someone was attacked by a xenomorph (Aliens).

Lenore takes unconditional love to new heights and becomes somewhat insane as she acts completely normal when she’s not hiding the carcasses of animals (and then people) the baby is caught eating—and thus, hiding the truth of her little monster. I’ve never fathered a man-eating monstrous infant, so I guess who am I to judge, right?

Director Josef Rusnak’s (The Thirteenth Floor) remake/reimagining of Larry Cohen’s 1974 classic checks the standard boxes for horror tropes. There’s a shower scene, nudity, crime scenes splattered with unreasonable amounts of blood, and weak writing guiding us from one entertaining death scene to the next.

REMAKE/REIMAGINING SIDEBAR: For more horror remakes, I favor the following: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), An American Werewolf in London (1981), The Thing (1982; yes, this was a remake), The Fly (1986), The Mummy (1999; adventure genre), The Ring (2002), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), The Hills Have Eyes (2006), Friday the 13th (2009), Let Me In (2010), Evil Dead (2013), Carrie (2013), The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014), It (2017) and Suspiria (2018). Those to avoid include  The Thing (2011; a prequel/remake), Poltergeist (2015), Cabin Fever (2016), A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010), Night of the Demons (2009), Body Snatchers (1993; the second remake), The Invasion (2007; the third remake), War of the Worlds (2005) and The Mummy (2017; total adventure-style reboot-imagining). I’m on the fence about An American Werewolf in Paris (1997), Halloween (2007), My Bloody Valentine (2009) and Fright Night (2011), which are bad or so-so remakes (in my opinion) but decently entertaining movies.

I must admit, I was caught off guard and definitely giggled (a lot) when the baby snatched the house cat under the bed and later took his first human victim. Each kill escalates the zany power of this baby. It’s forceful manipulation of people being yanked out of sight is almost reminiscent of Jaws (1975) pulling people under the water, and some of the silly yet gory CGI death even reminded me of Piranha 3D (2010). The CGI is not good, but the enjoyable ridiculousness of the gore and the events transpiring carry the scenes to our laughable entertainment.

While I find this film entertaining, the acting is often painfully wooden and with nothing redeeming in the writing. Overall, this isn’t a worthy remake. But it’s a perfectly watchable horror flick.

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