Wednesday, November 7, 2007

It's Alive 3: Island of the Alive

I’m going to tell you this as a friend: the only reason your infant child has not tried to murder you is because it lacks the ability to do so. Had it been born a giant mutant baby like the ones in this series, and thus been capable of murder straight out of the womb, you would be dead now. It’s only when they’ve had several years of life with society beating the evil out of it that a child begins to lose its bloodlust, its murderous rages finding safe outlets in movies, video games, and comic books rather than in cutting open the necks of neighbors and in throwing explosives at small animals. If the human race were to come out of the womb already able to walk, as some animals are, then it would not still exist today. Our collective weakness at birth is an evolutionary protective measure, necessary for the continued safety of our entire species.

Sadly, this deep profundity is not found as much here, as, like all great horror series eventually must, this film kind of falls apart. There are two fatal flaws with this movie, one in the casting, and one in the overall concept. The more instantly glaring problem, and one that never gets better at any point, is in that of the lead, Michael Moriarty. A quick look at his IMDB bio reveals that I’ve seen him in exactly one other movie, Pale Rider, and I can only hope Clint Eastwood had the decency to kill him swiftly in that. He sleepwalks his way through this film, throwing out irritating smart ass remarks at everyone that he doesn’t even try to make funny, just irritating. He is a complete pest, which is all the more glaring when considering I watched this back to back to back with the first two films, and got to see the abrupt, major decline in the quality of actors/characters. He really is the pits.

The other problem that cripples the film is that, unlike its prequels, this film doesn’t focus solely on the universal problem of killer infants, but instead has the foolish audacity to let them grow up into evil adults. This is accomplished by a judge ordering them all to be shipped off to an island uninhabited by man where they can live out their natural lives, at least until a government expedition to study them is launched, with the tedious Moriarty along as an expert. Naturally the expedition is doomed, and soon Moriarty is “forced” to take the demons back to Florida with him (I put forced in quotes because he is so blasé about it that you get the feeling he really doesn’t care that they just killed a bunch of people, nor that they are using their bodies for food while sailing back to the U.S.). Moriarty’s child wants to go to Florida because they all have mental homing beacons for their parents, and Moriarty’s estranged wife is living there. I’m not sure why all the rest wanted to go there, though, but maybe they had heard about the way cool goth punk clubs they evidently have down there.

Every time a horror series goes on long enough, it eventually turns into garbage. Some, like Halloween or Psycho, manage to hold out for a while and have a good two or three quality sequels before falling to pieces. Some, like the Puppet Master series, are just crib deaths, sucking at their very inception. The It’s Alive series falls smack dab in the middle, giving us two good movies before it turned into shit. Still, I guess two good movies for about ten bucks isn’t bad at all, even if they’re attached to a third, less fortunate film.

Rating: *

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