Alive or Dead (DVD)
Reviewed by The Foywonder
Starring Ann Henson, Angelica Magana, L. Flint Esquerra, Gretchen Busenitz
Directed by Stephen Goetsch
Distributed by Lionsgate Home Entertainment
WARNING: The Surgeon General says that young women who masturbate with a car phone charger during phone sex while driving down a dark dirt road in the middle of nowhere are more likely to be terrorized by psychotic mongoloids.
Okay, you're a horny babe stranded in the middle of nowhere with flat tires and are unable to call for help due to your cell phone battery having died and you cannot get it to charge up because now that your battery charger has tasted your sticky sweet vagina sticking it into your car's cigarette lighter no longer gives it the jolt it so desperately craves. What do you do?
Answer: spend several minutes walking around with a flashlight saying and doing as little as possible. Be sure to repeat this process as many times as possible for the next 80-minutes - minus the flashlight.
Our friends at Lionsgate have once again come through delivering to us yet another surefire direct-to-DVD no-budget horror gem that lives up to the gold standard that horror movie fans have come to expect from Lionsgate's direct-to-DVD no-budget horror releases. You like endless scenes of people walking and looking around, Alive or Dead is the movie for you. You like long tension-free scenes of young women hiding from cannibal hillbilly mongoloids, Alive or Dead is the movie for you. You like two-minute long montages of a bus driving down a dirt road, Alive or Dead is the movie for you. If you're looking for a punishing bore of a horror movie with non-existent pacing that feels like the filmmaker only wrote about 12-pages of actual script and then improvised the rest of it, Alive or Dead is definitely the movie for you.
It all starts with the broken down hotty discovering a young woman chained up with a hood over her head on a bus also containing mutilated bodies. She’ll hide on it as a nameless killer drives it to a home in the middle of the desert designed to look like a medieval castle. There they'll encounter a big, fat, overall-wearing, seemingly retarded, hillbilly oaf who looks like he could be a charter member of the Haystacks Calhoun Appreciation Society. The two women who only qualify as characters in the sense that they are living breathing people will walk around this place like they're on an open house tour for a seemingly endless amount of time until the psycho mongoloid kicks in to full blown psycho mongoloid mode - his crazy roaring is silly, but not that funny. 20-minutes worth of chasing follows, amazing given one of the women will get stabbed through the leg yet still keep on running. Another younger cannibal with a face covered in disfiguring boils will be added to the mix for the hell of it. Finally, but not until the last 20-minutes, the faintest traces of something vaguely resembling a story will be introduced and even then the writer-director finds time to waste time.
The five-minute stretch around the one-hour marked by the sudden appearance of a Frank Langella look-a-like dressed like a Franciscan monk who tries to manufacture some semblance of a backstory, doing so in a Shakespearean theater voice, talking so much it's almost as if he's trying to make-up for the lack of dialogue earlier, was the only time anything remotely interesting happened. Aside from that, lead actress Ann Henson in her mid-riff baring bosom-hugging tank top is about the only thing worth looking at here.
The most astonishing thing about this movie that's barely a movie is how great it looks - theatrical-quality even. It looks more theatrical than some of the Afterdark Horrorfest films of the past. It looks so professionally polished, yet here it remains practically plotless, positively pointless, a complete nothing of a movie.
The opening minutes will include a line from that boyfriend on the phone telling his girlfriend that her predicament sounded like the set-up to every crappy horror film. Just because the maker of Alive or Dead was fully aware what kind of crappy horror film he was making doesn't change the fact that he's made an even worse than usual crappy horror film.
Before Lionsgate got a hold of this film it was titled Inhospitable. Lionsgate should have kept that title since the film is inhospitable to all viewers, alive or dead.
1/2 out of 5
2 out of 5
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