Alive (Movie Review)

There is an old adage of “if you want to make a film then just go and make one.” For Writer-Director David Marantz, this was certainly true for his feature debut Alive. Made with a cast and crew, whose day jobs meant that night shoots were problematic, the film is a great example of people with passion getting together to make a film.

Alive movie still / Gravitas Ventures

Released digitally through Gravitas Ventures on January 31, 2023, Alive follows a cast of characters trying to survive after a virus has turned people into zombies. It opens with a montage of scenes showing the virus advancing as police battle the undead, a teacher reads out information to her class and increasingly somber news reports are read out. In this montage the audience is introduced to some of the characters we will be following. Perhaps most important are Helen (Ellen Hillman), her boyfriend Kevin (Kian Pritchard) and her younger brother Barney (Andrew May-Gohrey: Pistol series) who has been bitten, but who Helen is keeping from turning to a diet of raw meat.

The zombie genre is a popular one and has seen a recent resurgence in interest following the success of television show The Last of Us. Whilst it is great to see an independent film take on this genre, it does mean that any new addition needs to bring something new and fresh. Unfortunately, Alive is rather standard fare story wise. Everything that Alive presents to the audience has been seen before and has sadly been done better. The same can be said for the characters bar one notable exception in Helen. She is a strong female character, and Hillman puts in a good performance. Across the cast, all the performances are good, and it would be great to see Marantz reunite this cast for another project.

Alive movie still / Gravitas Ventures

Visually is probably where Alive falls down the most. It is evident that the film has budgetary constraints, which is not an issue. Rather, the decision to have the film so sapped of color really affect how watchable it was. The color choice gives the film a predominantly dull, flat look and elements such as the lush greens of the woods are completely lost. In fact, there is one scene which takes place in a dark attic, which is extremely effective as the character is silhouetted against the stark darkness. This makes it even more frustrating that the rest of the film is devoid of atmosphere.

It is really disheartening to find fault with low budget, indie films which audiences definitely need more of. That in mind, Alive is not a bad film, but it suffers from being in an overpopulated genre in which it unfortunately does not stand out. That is why Cryptic Rock gives it 2 out of 5 stars.

Alive movie poster / Gravitas Ventures

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