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Dead Alive (1992)
Rated R

Starring: Timothy Balme, Elizabeth Moody, and Diana Penalver

Rating:
****
out of
*****

If you enjoyed Evil Dead 2, then you might want to take a look at this New Zealand-made horror comedy. Dead Alive, also known as Brain Dead, is a wonderfully zany and gross little film that somehow hasn't gained too much recognition here in the United States.

The film opens off the coast of Sumatra in the 1950's. A rare species of rat-monkey has been captured with the intention of bringing it back to New Zealand to be displayed at a zoo.

Flash to a suburban community somewhere in New Zealand. It seems young Paquita (Diana Penalver) has been told by her fortune telling mother that a romance with town nerd Lionel (Timothy Balme) is inevitable. Seeking her destiny, Paquita asks Lionel to go to the zoo with her. Lionel agrees, but the couple are followed by his over-bearing mother (Elizabeth Moody) who manages to get bitten by the rat-monkey in the process.

Shaken, but seemingly not seriously injured, she is taken back home. Suddenly, she begins to act very strangely and gets violently ill, attacking the house nurse and Lionel. She dies but is mysteriously reanimated. The nurse also becomes strangely sick, dies and comes back to life. It seems that anyone who is bitten by an infected zombie becomes a zombie as well. As the zombies multiply, Lionel, for some reason begins keeping them in his basement and attempts to hide his collection from Paquita and the rest of the world.

While it doesn't possess the most original plot line, the movie's magic is in the zany way it's put together. Director Peter Jackson, obviously sharing a similar sense of humor and craziness as Sam Raimi, has infused this movie with great characterizations and comedic elements that allow the viewer to laugh as horrible things happen on-screen.

Seriously out-grossing Evil Dead 2 in the bodily fluids department, Dead Alive still manages to remain watchable by constantly turning up the ridiculous factor as the film progresses. Just when you think it can't get any weirder, it does.

Dead Alive is a movie for those that love horror movies. Those that expect to take their horror seriously or don't understand pure camp may not get it.

Trivia: During the lawnmower scene, blood was pumped at five gallons per second. (Source: The Internet Movie Database)

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