Friday, December 11, 2009

Alice Jacobs is Dead (2009)

Fear 1/5
Gore 3/5
Entertainment 5/5
Creepiness 2/5

I first heard about this short film from our buddy The Jaded Viewer. In his immortal ratings system, I think this movie would warrant 4 spinkicks.

I don't know what it is but for some reason, short films have a stigma with me. Maybe I'm too narrow minded in thinking that their longer (and sometimes more winded) counterparts are superior. Or maybe its a feeling that 20-30 minutes is just too darn short to get a point across. Well my silly notions were completely dispelled after viewing this zombie short. Now I know what you are thinking, hasn't this sub-genre of horror been nauseatingly covered ad infinitum during the past few years? Sure, but that doesn't mean something can't come out of left field and be completely original.

At the start of the film, we find a doctor who's busy studying cells under a microscope. He soon heads out from his lab after his assistant tells him good luck for an interview he's to give at a local television station. The interviewer lays the groundwork to pretty much bring us up to speed: the doctor has been working on a serum to cure people inflicted with a disease, during the first stage of the virus the serum reacted well, and now he's in the process of curing the last few. And throughout the doctor's trials he even lost his wife....or did he.

He comes home after the interview, his wife glowing after his on air professing of love. We soon see her shoot up with what's assumed to be the disease curing elixir. She heads to the bathroom as her body reacts violently towards it and she hacks up blood.

While her husband is at work the next day, she's in the living room, watching TV(a nice little genre nod with White Zombie playing). She gets a case of the munchies and heads to the refrigerator, pulling out a steak. Maniacally, she stuffs her face with the raw meat. Her husband comes home to find her ashamed and completely flipping out on the kitchen floor. She expresses her frustration in feeling like a trapped guinea pig only to be reassured by her singularly focused husband, that all will be well.

The next morning they both wake up, with the husband finding that his wife has completely turned, his caged experiment no longer receptive to the serum. Its assumed that the virus will now carry on as the wife shuffles down the street after having viciously mauled her husband.

From the soundtrack, to the relationship between the husband and wife (played heartbreakingly well by John La Zar and Adrienne 'I'm still hot at 64' Barbeau), to the overall look and feel, I'm amazed at just how much emotion could be jam packed into 25 min. In a total 'What would you do?' manner, the film implicitly asks the question as the doctor so desperately tries to take care of his wife. But at the same time, it balances that with the notion that he is hellbent on finding a cure, whatever the cost. A morality play is at work here, something that most films in this sub-genre completely avoid or fail in an attempt. Entirely original and refreshing.

Not to be disregarded, the film itself fulfills its purpose in that small time frame and although a longer version could probably be made, its intent and purpose was well delivered. Nothing felt as though it really needed to be expounded upon or explored further. It does better than most horror films with 2-3 times the running length.

For more information about the film, ch-ch-ch check it out:

Special thanks to director Alex Horwitz for giving us the chance to screen a copy.

Cortez the Killer

HorrorBlips: vote it up!


the jaded viewer said...

Get out of my head! :-P I think you read my mind dude in terms of what rating I was gonna give this short. Thanks for the shoutout.

My review is coming this week as well.

Somebody send George Romero this short ASAP!

Cortez The Killer said...

Your welcome good sir. And agreed. He's run out of ideas with the zombie genre, this little short definitely breathes new life.

Matt-suzaka said...

I knew that dope cover art looked familiar...sounds very interesting, as it did when I first heard about it from Jaded. Good to read a positive review.

I met Barbeau a few years back and she was still quite banging, I must say!

the jaded viewer said...

Sent a link to this review on my review.

I'm glad I could get this little short some horror blogosphere exposure.

Just a good solid zombie flick without the mass hordes of zombies getting in the way