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Overall Rating
4.5

Awesome75.18%
Worth A Look: 8.76%
Average: 10.95%
Pretty Bad: 1.46%
Total Crap: 3.65%

5 reviews, 107 user ratings


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Dead Alive
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by Ryan Arthur

"Cranium blowout!"
5 stars

Let's get this right out in the open: Dead Alive (a/k/a Braindead) is not for the squeamish, jumpy or easily shaken. I'm jumpy. Almost to an extreme - whether it's horror films, gunshots, small woodland creatures (animated or otherwise), bank openings, scantily clad women or any combination thereof, odds are I'm gonna be surprised and jump right out of my seat. What's more, I've never been a fan of horror films; they're just not my cup of tea. But a friend of mine convinced me that the opportunity to see Dead Alive on the big screen (and at a midnight showing, no less), just wasn't something I should pass up. Oddly enough, I'm glad I didn't.

The quick and dirty in regards to Dead Alive is as simple as this: Boy meets girl. Girl is destined to fall for boy. Boy loves girl. Boy's mom is overbearing and manipulative, and isn't all that keen on boy exercising some independence from his good ol' mother. While spying on boy and girl at the zoo, boy's mom is bitten by a Sumatran rat monkey. Mom becomes flesh-eating zombie. Boy must prevent everyone else from seeing zombie mom, which becomes more and more difficult each time zombie mom escapes to bite someone else and infect them.

What follows is one of the grossest, most disgusting movies I've ever seen. Still, I honestly loved every minute of it.

From the moment the aforementioned Sumatran rat monkey's introduced, you know you're in for a treat. The monkey's removed from its island home and promptly scratches the would-be monkey-napper Steve Irwin-type in three different places. When the monkey hunter's guides see the marks of potential infection, the machete comes out, and the guy doesn't go home. See, it's rumored that Sumatran rat monkey bites turn victims into zombies, and natives don't want to take chances. So, off come various limbs and body parts. The rat monkey ends up in a New Zealand zoo. Monkey hunter does not.

So you've got a death by dismemberment and beheading in the first seven minutes. It's that kinda flick.

We're then introduced to Paquita (the lovely Diana Peñalver), who works in her family's corner store. She's dreaming of falling in love, and her mother just happens to be a gypsy sort, so she reads Paquita's future in the tarot cards. She'll know love, instantly, but that love will also come with pain, suffering and death. To her disappointment, it's not with the handsome deliveryman who often stops by the store. Instead, it's Lionel (Timothy Balme), a nervous type still loving at home with his mum, Vera (Elizabeth Moody, playing her role to the hilt). But Diana, and her love, won't be swayed. She eventually gets Lionel alone, where they end up on what passes for a date at the local zoo. Vera, overbearing and possessive woman that she is, isn't a fan of her boy starting to think and live for himself. She follows the couple to the zoo and is promptly bitten by the hideous rat monkey. She screams, Lionel freaks and abandons Paquita at the zoo, rushing mum home to the nurse, who advises rest. Vera's concerned: she's due to have a luncheon the next day with the local Women's League that she absolutely has to make it to. Lionel offers to assist the next morning, following a good night's rest, although not for him...Paquita sneaks in through the window and the relationship is consummated.

While all this is happening, bad stuff is happening to mom. The wound seems to be growing and/or pulsing, and the pus is just plain nastay. She's also got peeling skin and can't seem to be able to talk above a grunting level. The luncheon doesn't go over well, and Lionel sends his mom back to bed, trying to put out of his mind that his rapidly deteriorating mum squirted pus from her wound into one of her guest's bowls of pudding. Lionel isn't exactly oblivious, he just kind of turns a blind eye to things. That poses a problem when his mother ends up eating Paquita's dog. Soon, Lionel's down with what's going on. Mom's a zombie. Her nurse shows up to try to figure things out, and she becomes a zombie. But rather than off them both (despite a nifty struggle involving a Chinese throwing knickknack), and prevent further zombiefication, Lionel shoves them both down into his cellar and tries doping them with animal tranquilizers to dull the homicidal and brain-gnawing tendencies.

It snowballs from there. Before it's all said and done, Lionel accidentally replace his animal tranqs with animal stimulants, and he'll end up with a house full of zombies. How he gets through it all...let's just say Bruce Campbell would be proud. Lionel's the new Lawnmower Man.

Balme was actually my favorite part of the film. The way he acted, spoke, moved, virtually everything about the character evoked a hybrid of Chaplin and Keaton. He's a comic figure stuck in a highly incredible position: he can't bring himself to off his dear old mum, because after all, he loves her. Even when she's in an advanced state of brain-chomping decomposition, he can't bring himself to do it. He's forced to hide his awful secrets from Paquita, which ultimately leads to bad things getting worse (as they always do in movies like this), and despite all of the stupid decisions that Lionel makes (it wouldn't be a horror movie otherwise), you can't help but root for the character. He's also the strongest actor of the bunch, who are all decent, which you generally wouldn't expect from what basically amounts to B-movie schlock.

Now the gore...it's bad. As I've said, I'm not a horror fan, and I'm no gorehound. And Dead Alive delights in finding ways to gross the audience out. But the sheer splatter factor of this movie was so over the top, so obviously played for laughs (and scares, too, since no one in my capacity audience screamed in terror, because they were doubled over with laughter), I couldn't help but love it. Obviously, it may not be for everyone. Zombies eat it countless different ways in Dead Alive, so if you go to horror movies to see new and exciting ways for characters to die (and come back, and then die again), then by all means, this is the movie for you. But if you're easily offended (zombie child abuse? a kung-fu priest? zombie coitus?) or squeamish, then you may want to pass.

That said, any fan of Peter Jackson's take on the Lord Of The Rings trilogy should probably see this, if only for posterity's sake. You'll see Jackson tip his hat often to influences before him (most notably in Balme's Chaplin-esque performance) and you'll see a pre-Lord Of The Rings WETA Workshop's Richard Taylor hone his craft with some shitty to halfway decent creature effects (the stop-motion rat monkey is on the shitty side of things, looking like a strung out version of Henson's Salacious Crumb). Decent performances and a generally solid execution made this a hell of a lot of fun.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=4011&reviewer=7
originally posted: 10/25/03 06:07:50
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell the best gore movie ever for strong stomachs only 4 stars
11/27/11 joshuaprater1979 Very funny gross-out! 5 stars
10/08/11 Mitchell Fletcher One of the worst movies I have ever seen 1 stars
6/05/11 Aardvarki Loved it, but you have a point about the lack of actual horror. 4 stars
5/11/10 Keith Yoocell Loved it since I first watched at the age of 12 5 stars
2/07/10 elton good movie 4 stars
11/25/09 mort a heart preening in the mirror using lung hands? hell yes. 5 stars
10/19/09 Mikey i agree with the majority on here - f'in' fanTASTIC movie! 5 stars
3/04/09 Jebus Absolutely awesome zombie movie. 5 stars
1/06/09 Tim The worst movie of all time. Belongs in a museum. 5 stars
11/22/08 Shaun Wallner Awesome Story! 5 stars
9/04/08 Frontage best. horror-comedy. EVER 5 stars
7/13/08 Alex Spivey giant zombie baby 5 stars
6/23/08 mr.mike Do not enter into it lightly 4 stars
6/21/08 Bill Shook my head at the sheer adacity of the gore! Could only watch in slack jawed amazement. 4 stars
12/16/07 Bnorm most outrageous movie ive ever seen; the baby getting thrown was unexplicably hilarious 5 stars
11/21/07 Jett promising beginning, but quickly slips into monotony 2 stars
9/04/07 rob idiotic 2 stars
3/17/07 matthew an absolute riot! hilarious and kicks ass, you won't believe the gore 5 stars
12/18/06 William Goss Exahaustingly gruesome, with a doozy of a climax. 3 stars
8/21/06 bill hedges what a fun movie!not for everyone,but a hoot! i am in love with DIANA PENALVER 5 stars
6/02/06 LC This movie is outrageous! 5 stars
2/27/06 chris f totally awesome!!!! 5 stars
8/07/05 Eric Wilson One of the best zombie flicks ever!!! 5 stars
8/01/05 Kankasaur Like smoking cheap tobacco, sure you get your guilty pleasure, but is it worth the nausea? 3 stars
7/07/05 Isaac Baranoff Peter Jackson's BEST FILM! The Lord of the Rings trilogy is overrated! 5 stars
6/25/05 John flawed but better than this review lets on 5 stars
6/03/05 deadwiz This movie is classic, gory and fun. 4 stars
3/18/05 indrid cold The splatterfest to end all splatterfests. But is it "good"? Of course not. 4 stars
3/17/05 ELI acting + script are awful. But I don't give a fuck! :) Best stupid movie ever! 5 stars
1/05/05 magaafi this is THE shizznick./ 5 stars
12/12/04 Tom Benton Jackson's pre-"Rings" masterpiece; the most digusting, gory film ever made 5 stars
12/08/04 Marco D Man you suck! That's the greatest gory movie I've ever seen. And I saw *many* of those... 5 stars
7/21/04 Harry J The best of gore, that's for sure. You gotta see it !!!! 5 stars
7/07/04 Disgruntled Me Man you're lame this movie is awesome, lame-o's shouldn't watch horror 5 stars
5/05/04 dead next door could be a lot better 3 stars
4/22/04 Lord Durvok 2 Elena obviously missed the point entirely. 5 stars
4/07/04 Sig wow... LoL! 5 stars
3/30/04 Tom This movie kicks such serious a$$! It is SO FUNNY! 5 stars
3/21/04 Samuel fuckin awesome! 5 stars
3/18/04 Umbrella Corporation. Elena... PLZ! Go home to your fuckin' RESIDENT EVIL & PET SAMETARY DVD's. THIS IS DA SHITZZ 5 stars
1/24/04 Elena Overrated. The special effects are childish and plot is a bag of flaming dog crap 1 stars
12/14/03 Isabelle Millaire Verry good!!! 5 stars
11/30/03 john pure genius ! 5 stars
10/29/03 ZF ingenious. 5 stars
10/23/03 Lord Durvok II DANG IT!!! Jon Lyrik stole my idea! Well... "That's my one-liner you're pissing on!" 4 stars
6/12/03 Jon Lyrik This movie kicks ass for the LORD! 5 stars
5/05/03 Peter the Great I had to vomit sometimes but I laughed a lot 5 stars
3/25/03 Dark Barøn Evil Intestines, living head, baby zombie in the blender. Juice anyone? 5 stars
3/11/03 beehotch If you disagree with my rating, I will eat your face. 5 stars
1/18/03 Mighty Tid Check out the snapshots of Lionel's Dad and his lover. Holy Wienershnitzel!! 5 stars
12/27/02 Scott Malbranque Superb. Hilarious. Ingenious. Brilliant. I have a 9 inch chubber. 5 stars
11/01/02 Zaw Funny as hell. 5 stars
10/29/02 Bård Aase Dead alive rules 5 stars
10/28/02 Joseph James I heard about it, thought it would be stupid, watched it, loved it, and had a zombie baby. 5 stars
9/22/02 Morally Sound See the "Unrated" version if you can find it! 5 stars
9/10/02 .Choadushouse. Watching the whole movie can be boring. But certain scenes make it completely worth it. 4 stars
7/29/02 Captain Midol My life was incomplete until this. You'll never look at a lawnmower the same way again... 5 stars
7/24/02 Malarkey Highwater Paquita was hot, but I could've done without the monster boobs at the end. Fuck 4 stars
7/11/02 James It's time for some Divine Intervention!!! 5 stars
5/22/02 mike anderson greatflick. nothing else to it. 5 stars
5/17/02 Dave Beatty All I have to say is this is one SWEET ASS MOVIE! 5 stars
4/26/02 Charles Tatum Gross and hilarious, like me 5 stars
4/22/02 Someone sweeeeeeeeet 5 stars
4/15/02 Y2McKay blows his mother. DA BEST! 5 stars
4/09/02 Rockitman007 Right up there with the Evil Dead: "I kick ass for the Lord!" 5 stars
4/07/02 Film Dude Whoever hated this movie must like classy pictures like Kazaam, or Freddy Got Fingered. 5 stars
3/28/02 NeuroManson I kick ass for the lord!!! Say no mother fucking more... 5 stars
3/01/02 Axe Murderer THIS MOVIE IS EVIL!!.....BUY IT!..RENT IT....JUST FUCKING SEE IT!! 5 stars
2/28/02 Alan Smithee The bloodiest movie ever made. The lawnmower scene is hilarious. 5 stars
2/19/02 Adolf Oliver Nipples Congrats on Peter J. on doing LOTR! Oh yeah, the movie was sweet too. 5 stars
1/22/02 Nathan Cocks Hip Hooray for Peter J! Vile, disgusting and so damn funny you'll be laughing til you spew! 5 stars
12/12/01 Shane Robert Myers!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Who ever says this sucks they suck! this movie... RULES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
12/09/01 Keith Fuck yeah!! Gore galore! Definitely worth buying for all genre fans 5 stars
12/04/01 auroradae it was gross. not funny, not scary, not good. just gross, in a stupid way 1 stars
11/20/01 Chris K. Hard to believe that the director of DEAD ALIVE is working on THE LORD OF THE RINGS! 5 stars
11/16/01 Geto Smurf This is the shit. This is a REAL zombie movie! 5 stars
8/26/01 Kyle AWESOME! 5 stars
8/10/01 Mental Duck Awesome... spot the Peter Jackson cameo as the assistant. 5 stars
8/02/01 King Jackass This movie is one of my favorites! 5 stars
7/21/01 gus it stinks 1 stars
7/15/01 Violent J See this now, or go to hell. 5 stars
7/07/01 Best gore movie ever! My name sez it all mothafucka! 5 stars
7/06/01 Dan Fucking Brittant, Best Horror Movie I've Scene. No Movies Have This Much Gore,Troma's Close 5 stars
7/01/01 kingjackass222 my fav movie ever! 5 stars
6/30/01 Erik you Bastard you Took This Out of the Top 20 Simply kicks motha fuckin ass! 5 stars
6/30/01 Gored Gus Has everything you want except nudity- damn. But still pretty good! 5 stars
6/29/01 Da Zombie FUCKING SHIT VICTORY!!!! 5 stars
6/29/01 Movies 'R Kewl my opinion: ---------------------------------------------------> 5 stars
6/23/01 erik the movieman Probably the grossest film I've ever seen. It's great, but not GREAT! 4 stars
6/18/01 steel flesh one of the greatest horror movies ive ever seen. 5 stars
6/13/01 Joe Blow Fuckin awesum! 5 stars
6/08/01 Horrorluver THIS MOVIES GOT EVERYTHING! VIOLENCE, HUMOR, AND GOOD ACTING! GO RENT THIS RIGHT NOW! 5 stars
6/08/01 Mr. Eff It's the bomb. Fans of this movie should also check out Meet the Feebles. 5 stars
6/03/01 King Jackass has funnier supporting actor than puffy the dog in something about mary! the baby is awesom 5 stars
5/13/01 Axe Murderer .....kicks fucking ass.......... 5 stars
5/05/01 Rael The Hamlet of Cannibal Zombie Films! 5 stars
2/21/01 Ken Limbocker Totally gross. Totally funny (if you like gross). A disgusting classic. Loved it. 5 stars
2/07/01 m Absolutely fabulous. Hollywood could learn A LOT from this Kiwi film. 5 stars
11/09/00 JOeBlow Greatest zombie movie.. no wait.. movie.. ever. Period. 5 stars
10/23/00 sickboy Amazing. Up there with, if not surpassing, the Evil Dead trilogy. 5 stars
9/03/00 Somnabulist Has a zany horror spirit, but the acting/story/scares all are old hat 1 stars
8/30/00 Craig K. Best horror movie out their! 5 stars
8/15/00 Terrie Smith No words to describe this one; standouts are the kung-fu priest and the zombie baby. 4 stars
7/09/00 Adam Great scene with a lawnmower 5 stars
5/28/00 daghost Definitely the goriest, funniest, best movie in film history!!!!! 5 stars
4/03/00 Josh Goriest Movie Ever and its a lot of fun!!! 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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  02-Oct-1992 (R)

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