Movie Review: AliveNovember 19, 2018
The Blood in the Snow Canadian Film Festival 2018
When you are making any kind of horror movie, the setting/mood is vitally important in terms of putting your audience on edge. Enter Alive, where two people wake up bandaged, bruised, bloodied, restrained in beds in some mysterious hospital with no memory of what happened or how they got there. Above all else, this is a great way to start a movie, with so many questions and loads of tension.
This is where we meet the “Male Patient” (Thomas Cocquerel) and the “Female Patient” (Camille Stopps), physically hurting and mentally confused. If the situation weren’t bad enough, along comes the doctor/caretaker simply known as “The Man” (Angus Macfadyen) and tension and creep factor is turned up another notch. It doesn’t take long for both patients to realize that something is not right, not just with their mutual situation but the man tending to them as well.
Things progress slowly, with all three characters developing and changing before our eyes. Our “Female Patient” tries to adjust to the caretaker’s mood changes, making him easier to deal with. The “Male Patient” however wants none of this and defies him at every turn. The dynamic between these two is fun to watch as they try and come to terms with their horrifying situation. “The Man”, well, he keeps things pretty close to the chest initially, only giving out little crumbs of information that initially make no sense. However, as more of what happens comes to light “The Man” begins to unravel and his true face is revealed, which is something even more sinister than the two could ever have imagined.
Director Rob Grant builds the story nicely, giving all three actors time to grow inside their collective skins of paranoia, fear, and rage. Grant makes things a lot easier by making the setting truly creepy, with a sense of dread hanging over everything like a living entity. The movie picks up the pace halfway through and Grant then sends the audience on a sleigh ride of bloody mayhem and fear. Great camera shots, wonderful lighting (or lack thereof) envelops our three actors at every turn and makes for many great, tense moments. The writers also made sure that while the story was easy to follow, there were enough clues and twists to keep you guessing, with the ending something you have to see to believe.
There were some moments in the second act where things seemed a little rushed, like that had so much to get in after a long first act setting the stage. In fact, it almost seems like two movies in one sometimes as things get pretty busy near the end. However, these are only minor complaints in a movie that was loads of fun. A nice combination of horror and mystery, Alive sets the stage and then executes its endgame well, which will keep many an audience member on the edge of their seats.
Four stars out of five
Alive makes it’s Toronto premiere at the Blood in the Snow Canadian Film Festival Friday, November 23rd at 9:30 pm at The Royal Cinema