Click here to return to the main site.

DVD Review

DVD cover

It's Alive (2008)


Starring: Bijou Phillips, Raphael Coleman and James Murray
Optimum Home Entertainment
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: 18
Available 07 September 2009

Lenore Harker appears to have everything going for her. She’s a college senior student with excellent grades, she has a loving and financially secure boyfriend and a fine house in which to bring up a family. When she falls pregnant it is the icing on the cake. However, her idyllic life is turned upside down when everyone in the delivery room is violently slaughtered, leaving only Lenore and her newborn baby untouched. The police investigate the bizarre murders, but Lenore is unable to help as her mind has blotted-out the events. At home the baby develops extraordinarily quickly. It’s mother desperately tries to pretend that everything is normal but, as small animals and then even visitors to the house are found brutally ripped apart, she is forced to accept that her baby is not what it seems...

It’s Alive is a remake of a 1974 film written and directed by Larry Cohen, who subsequently added two sequels (see trilogy review). Whilst the original is very much a product of its time, with its Streets of San Francisco setting and more importantly its status of precursor to the video nasty era waiting just around the corner, this version is contemporary but much less specific about its setting and so less likely to date as quickly.

Significantly more is implied than actually seen, which in my book is always a shrewd move. You actually get the feeling that people have sat down and had long discussions about how this premise might be adapted for a modern audience. Not only has director Josef Rusnak successfully concluded that less is more, but the film as a whole wisely concentrates on the relationship between mother and baby - as opposed to the original wherein it was a visible monster from the start. It’s telling that in this version we see the baby’s head briefly and only once in the entire running time.

I love the ending too because it reaches a proper conclusion. I even played all the credits through, dreading that moment when the little pointless twist would spoil what had gone before, and was more than pleasantly surprised when it didn’t materialise.

There are perhaps some missed opportunities, namely when the wheelchair-bound boy crawls across the floor of his room at the same time the baby is missing from its cot. The film tries hard though to avoid too many horror clichés, and this seems to suit its obvious low budget and understated storyline.

I’m sure Frightfest horror aficionados will take to this remake. It’s by no means perfect, but it comes in, tells its story and gets out again quick, which is no bad thing. I’m disappointed to note there are no extras on the disc. In this day and age that’s pretty unusual.


Ty Power

Buy this item online

We compare prices online so you get the cheapest deal
Click on the logo of the desired store below to purchase this item.

£9.98 (
£9.99 (
£7.99 (
£12.77 (
£12.77 (

All prices correct at time of going to press.