Following an ever-growing epidemic of zombies that have risen from the dead, two Philadelphia S.W.A.T. team members, a traffic reporter, and his television executive girlfriend seek refuge in a secluded shopping mall.
There is panic throughout the nation as the dead suddenly come back to life. The film follows a group of characters who barricade themselves in an old farmhouse in an attempt to remain safe from these flesh eating monsters.
After a tragic car accident that kills his wife, a man discovers he can communicate with the dead to con people. However, when a demonic spirit appears, he may be the only one who can stop it from killing the living and the dead.
Michael J. Fox,
Lionel, a Mama's boy has the unwanted honor of having to look after his overbearingly evil mother. He ends up falling in love with a local woman who believes that they're destined together. In a moment of intentional sabotage of one of their dates, his mother is bitten by a mysterious creature that ends up zombifying her. It's only a matter of time before she rises from the dead a powerful, bloodthirsty zombie. It's only a matter of time before she starts infecting residents of the town and Lionel has to stop her...and them. Written by
Peter Jackson's gore-fest "Dead Alive" - AKA Braindead- is a very funny, very bloody film. The story is pretty simple, but includes some ingenious plot elements - such as a budding romance between two very likable characters (Balme and Penalver), a psychologically distressing relationship between Balme and his mother and well scripted dialog.
Balme plays Lionel - a troubled, more or less housebound young man who has been forced to spend most of his time taking care of a domineering and psychologically damaging elderly mother. Penalver plays Paquita - his romantic destiny. Paquita is a charming young woman for whom English is (perhaps) a second language. Soon after they meet, Paquita notices some odd quirks in Lionel's behavior, and slowly begins to realize that there is something besides the usual male fear of commitment. Perhaps Lionel's cannibalistic zombie mother is to blame? Soon enough Balme is babysitting a whole family of living dead who he has to constantly inject with animal tranquilizers, and trying to fend off a despicable uncle who is trying to muscle in on his inheritance. Then the fun really starts. It's the Dead Alive Series with extra gore, infused with brilliant slapstick and just a pinch of Monty Python.
Balme is amazing! - an excellent physical actor with great slapstick pacing and manic anxiety. And Penalver is delightfully pretty and sincere yet gives a nice campy performance. Dead Alive is one of the films in which Jackson began to blend detailed ecstatic and fantastic elements into his plots and cinematography - later culminating in the disturbing Heavenly Creatures and the spectacular LOTR trilogy. In Dead Alive, he finds his formula and makes it work without a tremendous budget. The film is well shot and grotesque, but remarkably amusing.
18 of 22 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?