A woman and a man wake up in what seems to be a hospital and in the care of someone who seems to be a doctor. That is until things take a turn for the odd and frightening and they are faced with their true identities and who this man really is.
Written by Chuck McCue and Jules Vincent and directed by Rob Grant this Canadian horror film mixes torture elements with medical horror in a way that causes many moments of squirming for even the most avid horror fans. Here the writing creates a mystery that is maintained almost until the very end with twists and turns that make sense while still being surprising. The directing takes this script in hand and makes the most out of it, keeping the story development on screen tight and effective, building suspense and dread while also letting the viewer take guesses while the story unfolds, most of which will most likely be incorrect. These elements mix together in a ways that gives Alive a strong, tense story and keeps the viewer glued to the screen.
The film here gains from keeping its story between three main characters, the female patient played by Camille Stopps, the male patient played by Thomas Cocquerel, and the man, the doctor played by Angus Macfadyen. All three give great performances, keeping the viewer enthralled in what is happening to them, in what they are discovering, and in what they are doing. The cast here is strong and the three of them work together just about perfectly, allowing the film to feel like an ensemble piece and the viewer to truly get into the story and the care about the characters one way or another. The film is an almost closed quarters situation and these characters all have their mysteries, giving them something to discover about each other and about themselves and giving the viewer stakes they can and want to keep up with.
The film uses the location of the potential hospital to its maximum potential, using the darkness, the grimy-ness of the place, the creepy factor of an old abandoned hospital the best way possible. The cinematography by Charles Hamilton shows this location beautifully well, using the dark corners and the small bits of light to create a world where things are hidden, nothing is ever fully revealed. The images use the darkness and the light in a way that adds to the story and makes it all the more powerful in its creepiness.
Alive is a film that takes its time, makes the most of its location, and has fantastic performances that take the story above and beyond what is expected of it considering what has been seen before in similar stories or stories that start similarly. Alive starts with a great script and fantastic direction and the above assist it in becoming one of the best films of last year/this year.