‘Maybe dead is better’
Alive. is a 2018 Canadian horror feature film directed and edited by Rob Grant (Harpoon; Fake Blood; Mon Ami; Yesterday) from a screenplay by Chuck McCue and Jules Vincent. The 775 Media Corp-Vamanos Films production stars Thomas Cocquerel (Escape Room 2), Camille Stopps (The Strain TV series), Angus Macfadyen (3022; Saw III and IV; Braveheart) and Chantal Perron.
Having played the festival circuit, Alive. was picked up by sales agent SC Films International and marketed at the American Film Market (AFM) in Santa Monica, California.
[may contain spoilers] Reviews:
“The slow build has huge payoffs, but it was a hill to climb despite the great performances initially. It was worth it in every way. I am sure that I will find this to be truer on repeat viewings. This is a standout film in the 2018 catalog of horror!” Ain’t It Cool News
“Grant seems game to top each twist with the next one, culminating with an insane resolution to the film that I can nearly guarantee that no one will see coming. Alive’s also got a lot of medical-based gore for those of you that get squicked out by needles, and more than one post-credits scene, so make sure you stick around for those.” Biff Bam Pop!
“The first half-hour is incredibly tense, as we struggle to second-guess The Man’s intentions and motivations, watching through half-closed eyes as he decides between psychological or physical torture. The final 25 minutes impressively ratchets up the fear and confusion.” Caution Spoilers
“Gore, tension, and character interaction make this very simple plot work well. I honestly wasn’t bored for a single moment throughout the story, and by the time the movie reached its climax I was on the edge of my seat. People seeking jump scares and other tropes won’t be displeased, but the story caters more to horror fans who value slow buildup and character development.” Crypt Teaze
“All three main characters are underdeveloped and the actors can do little more than turn the volume up and down on their monotone emotions. There’s some effort to deliver on gruesomeness and gore but this will appeal only to a very select audience. With little to build on, scenes of our protagonists lurching around the corridors seeking a means of escape fail to generate much tension.” Eye for Film
“Alive is more of a mystery than a horror film. The man and woman are is a tough predicament seemingly suffering from amnesia and both weakened from the ordeal, stress, and fog of medication from their partial recovery […] Grant leads the audience to a payoff that is both rewarding and terrifying making the film one that I can definitely recommend.” Flick Hunter
” …it almost seems like two movies in one sometimes as things get pretty busy near the end. However, these are only minor complaints in a movie that was loads of fun. A nice combination of horror and mystery, Alive sets the stage and then executes its endgame well, which will keep many an audience member on the edge of their seats.” Geek Chic Elite
“The directing takes this script in hand and makes the most out of it, keeping the story development on-screen tight and effective, building suspense and dread while also letting the viewer take guesses while the story unfolds, most of which will most likely be incorrect. These elements mix together in a way that gives Alive a strong, tense story and keeps the viewer glued to the screen.” Get Movies News
“Alive. is a well-written mystery worthy of your time. If you are expecting a thriller, you will probably think that the movie moves slower than it should. However, those are the scenes where McCue and Vincent are subtly setting out the clues (and red herrings) to the mystery they have crafted.” Guild Master Gaming
“The set is dressed suitably grimly, the costumes and effects feel authentic, and the tiny little world is tangible. Add to that some solid camerawork, a great score, and some clever editing, and you are onto a winner. The issue here stems from some of the story pacing […] Were this to be finessed, then Alive would flow a little better.” The Hollywood News
“There are pacing problems, notably once the film moves into the second act. Once the initial concept is established and our characters are in some sort of peril – it slows down significantly. And with the same locale for much of the film, there is the problem of repetition.” Horrorfreak News
“Alive might sound like it follows in the Saw-Hostel-New French Extremity tradition, as Charles Hamilton’s grungy cinematography would also suggest, but screenwriters Chuck McCue and Jules Vincent have devised some original and surprising twists. The film also radically alters our perception of Macfadyen (for the better).” J.B. Spins
“For a short period, we move from scene to scene of the doctor taking common medical assistance a step too far, before administering 20 cc’s of fast-forward juice to the next sadistic set piece. In these moments, the story progresses at a much slower pace than the rest of the movie but does pick back up again for a surprising 3rd act.” Nightmare on Film Street
“The suspense and feeling of dread is what makes this movie so good. I was ready to write it off as the usual suspense-filled fare, a film that builds up the suspense but never actually delivers a satisfying climax. But then the ending happened. Wow… that is all I have to say. I had to pick my jaw up off the floor just to be able to write this review.” Pop Horror
“Rob Grant’s direction kept Alive. tense throughout, even through the early – fairly slow – half. That first half showed the patients gradually healing and gradually developing some strength and confidence […] The writers also took care to lay down several clues and make sure everything made internal sense so that the mystery reveal (yes, there is a resolution) fitted at the end.” Ready Steady Cut!
“There are after credit scenes you need to sit through, and a number of unnecessary additions to the horror slow it down, feeling a little a cheap. It didn’t really need to because there is such a wonderfully executed horror thriller already at play and the excess is only distracting. Either way, it’s not enough to ruin the experience, making this well worth a look.” That Moment In
“This story has been done countless times in film and TV narratives, and given the plot’s limited locations, a dozen or so “captivity” films come to mind when watching. That being said, Grant’s delivery of this movie is immaculate and audiences will find few faults to pick up on. The chemistry he elicits between the performers is exceptional and the thrilling final third has a jaunty pace that will get fingernails firmly driven into chair arms.” UK Film Review
“Just because Alive isn’t a torture flick, that doesn’t mean there isn’t some wince-inducing violence. Grant along with writers Chuck McCue and Jules Vincent use it to punctuate the story, rather than letting it be the story. Which it could have done in less talented hands […] Unrelentingly tense and grim, Alive is one of the best films I’ve seen so far this year.” Voices from the Balcony
“It’s a tense little nightmare scenario, made all the more unsettling by the music, eerie lighting, and Angus Macfadyen’s amazing performance as The Caretaker. His voice is just so reasonable; so patient; in a normal hospital, he’d seem reassuring. In this nightmare place, the relaxed way he comports himself signals his madness […] This is a goopy, splattery, macabre horror story from frame one.” The YY Scene
In the UK, Blue Finch Releasing has made Alive. available on streaming platforms such as iTunes.
Cast and characters:
Thomas Cocquerel … Male Patient
Camille Stopps … Female Patient
Angus Macfadyen … The Man
Chantal Perron … Detective
Gerrick Winston … Doctor
Zoe Marlett … Daughter
Lisa Moreau … Hiker
Calgary Alberta Canada
There are brief mid-credits and after-credits scenes.