Late To The Party: ‘Dead Alive’ (aka ‘Braindead’)

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“I kick ass for the lord!” says the kung-fu master priest in Peter Jackson’s crazy ass film Dead Alive. With dialogue like that what could go wrong? In the case of Dead Alive, nothing. This film is pure pleasure and I had an absolute riot.

I have a theory that horror and comedy share a lot of similarities. My wife stares at me strangely as I laugh when someone is impaled by a kitchen implement, run over by a piece of farming machinery, or blown up in a meaty explosion. These are elements that make watching horror films fun. Dead Alive possesses many of these “quality” moments. With a proper blend of horror, action and comedy Dead Alive is a tasty jambalaya of a horror film.

Dead Alive (formerly known as Braindead) tells the story of a search for the infamous Sumatran rat-monkey. The rat monkey, a legendary creature, thought to be the result of the breeding between tree monkeys and plague rats, inhabits Skull Island, where our adventure begins. The rat-monkey is eventually located and captured, at which time it proceeds to attack the leader of the expedition. After being attacked, the expedition leader receives a rather interesting treatment for the wound (you’ll have to see it to believe it). The rat-monkey is then taken to a zoo located in 1950s Wellington New Zealand.

DISTRICT 9, Review – You Will See This Movie.

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Directed by Neill Blomkamp, 2009
Written by Neill Blomkamp & Terri Tatchell

DISTRICT 9 will end up being one of the most remembered films of 2009, as well it should be.  Not because it’s perfect, sorry to say, but because it’s a barrier breaker.  For the hardened fans of fantastic cinema, D9 will be a double-lunged breath of fresh air fired from a double-barreled shotgun of science fiction and horror.  For a new generation, D9 will be a gateway drug into older, better cinema.  And for studios, D9 will be proof positive that original ideas, particularly those of this genre, and unknown but not unqualified talents are worthy of their investment.

But here’s the catch.  Stop watching the trailers.  If a TV spot comes on, change the channel.  If you see one of those “Humans Only” print ads, don’t look at it.  You’re being lied to.  The film you may think DISTRICT 9 is is not the film you will see in theaters (and trust me, you will want to see this film in theaters).  Don’t worry, I’ll be walking on eggshells here, so feel free to continue reading why it isn’t those things and still remain unspoiled.

Neill Blomkamp’s feature debut is not a faux documentary nor is it filmed in the first person style, as the trailers make it out to be.  Nor is it about the world’s reaction to aliens who have just arrived on Earth.  DISTRICT 9 is a small, intimate story set within a fictional world in which aliens have landed 22 years ago.  That last piece of information is crucial to shaping your notion of what this movie is.  It is not a recount of what has already happened nor is it an invasion film.

Think of DISTRICT 9 as James Cameron’s ALIENS without there ever having been an ALIEN.  It’s a very narrow story set within a very specific universe familiar enough to our own to feel grounded, but unpredictable enough to feel lethal for all involved.

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