The Movie Waffler New to Prime Video - ALIVE | The Movie Waffler

New to Prime Video - ALIVE

alive review
Two strangers awake in the lair of a mad doctor.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Rob Grant

Starring: Thomas Cocquerel, Camille Stopps, Angus Macfadyen, Chantal Perron

alive poster

No, director Rob Grant's Alive isn't a remake of the 1993 tale of plane crash survivors turned cannibals. Rather it's a survival thriller with a twist, one that keeps its cards close to its chest for so long that by the time said twist is unveiled, you'll likely have long stopped caring.

alive review

In an abandoned hospital, a young woman (Reese Witherspoon lookalike Camille Stopps) wakes up, strapped to a gurney and with no memory of how she got there or who she might be. On a gurney next to her is a man (Karl Urban lookalike Thomas Cocquerel) in the same predicament. Both appear to have undergone intensive surgery, with stitch marks across their bodies. Are they connected somehow? "Friends? Brother and sister? Husband and wife?" the woman asks.

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Then appears a doctor (Angus Macfadyen), and it becomes quickly clear that this is no regular recuperation. The doctor, who speaks with a soft Scottish brogue, is clearly demented, refusing to tell his patients how they came into his care, feeding them disgusting food laced with drugs and ensuring they remain in his makeshift ward.

alive review

For most of its running time, Alive is a patience testing throwback to the 'torture porn' thrillers of the noughties, as Macfadyen's mad doctor subjects his patients to various forms of physical and psychological abuse. Aside from the woman's brief flashes of a man seeming to attack her in her home, we're given no backstory to these characters, and no clues as to where the story might be headed beyond the man and woman somehow making a break for it at some point. There simply isn't enough meat on Alive's dramatic bones to keep us engaged, and Macfadyen's quirky performance does little to enliven the proceedings. Some added tension might have come form the movie teasing the idea that the man or woman might be in league with the doctor, but Alive never really explores this possibility to any worthwhile degree.

alive review

What Grant's film does boast is a mildly amusing twist, but it doesn't arrive until the closing minutes. It makes up for the boredom of the preceding film to a small degree, but we're ultimately left feeling Alive would have worked better as a short episode of an anthology.

Alive is on Prime Video UK now.