Posted by: Peter Hall
Written and Directed by Alex Horwitz, 2009
In the not too distant future the self explanatory Z-virus has swept the globe, nearly claiming all of civilization until Dr. Ben Jacobs (John La Zar) discovers the miracle cure. Masses of undead are under control, all that remains are a few stragglers immune to Dr. Jacobs’ treatment, sadly one of whom is Alice Jacobs (Adrienne Barbeau). Considering the title of Alex Horwitz’s 21 minute short is ALICE JACOBS IS DEAD, well, it’s not hard to figure out the obstacles at hand.
Making a short film is perhaps the hardest task the medium offers. Twenty odd minutes to not only tell a story, but have character development and resolution? Ouch. Unlike a twenty two minute long TV show there is no serialization of events to the narrative or characters and unlike a feature film there’s no 70 extra minutes of wiggle room for the actors to ease into their roles. It’s a daunting task for everyone involved.
All things considered, that makes ALICE JACOBS IS DEAD a striking accomplishment. Sure, casting Adrienne Barbeau hedges the bets greatly for a FOG loving fan like me, but what really makes Horwitz’s film so commendable is that it’s a touching tale of two lovers refusing to let go. It’s as much about old age as it is about zombism, which is a synergy of two normally unrelated elements I wish most feature films had the wits to fuse together. The kind doctor must balance his commitment to saving the world with the commitment to saving his wife, even if it risks mutating the Z-virus strain into something uncontainable. ALICE JACOBS is the kind of horror movie whose intensity comes bottled in ideas instead of jump scares, this is thinking man’s horror.