ALIVE ** Canada 2018 Dir: Rob Grant. 91 mins
In one of the more over-familiar narrative tropes of 21st century genre cinema, a heavily wounded, amnesiac Thomas Cocquerel wakes up at the start of ALIVE in the care of an overly chipper British doctor (Angus Macfadyen) and with a stranger (Camille Stopps) in the next bed. Prone to sobbing in a self-created nursery, Macfadyen’s light-hearted demeanour and enthusiasm for nature and healthy eating conceals the obvious fact that he is batshit crazy.
As generic and forgettable as its oft-used title, this joins an endless array of post-CUBE horror movies in which strangers wake up in a confined space with no memory of how they got there and are forced to endure a series of tests and ordeals before figuring out the origins of their entrapment. Macfadyen, presumably cast due to his associations with SAW III, becomes increasingly tiresome as the virtually indestructible antagonist known only as “The Man”, in a script where none of the characters have actual names. It feels over-stretched -even at this length – and old-hat, with a slightly arduous build-up capped by an inevitable montage-assisted plot twist borrowed from one of the most underrated U.S. horrors of the early 1980’s. In addition to having more executive producers than cast members (or interesting ideas), this also boasts one of those pointless extra scenes halfway through the credits – meaning audience loyalty is rewarded with two mediocre endings for the price of one.
Review by Steven West