Dead Alive | Chicago Reader

Dead Alive

97 minutes

Peter Jackson charts new highs (or lows) in free-flowing gore and nonstop, torrential splatter with this modestly budgeted comic horror extravaganza (1993), originally—and more appropriately—known as Braindead. The standard-issue plot unfolds from the poisonous bite of a Sumatran rat monkey in a New Zealand zoo circa 1957. Yet the only meaningful bill of fare here is deliberately stomach-turning showstoppers involving dismemberment, disfigurement, disembowelment, gallons of spewing blood and bile, and related gross-outs—more the stuff of animated cartoons than live action. Ordinarily I don't care for this kind of thing at all, but something must be said for Jackson's endless reserves of giddy energy, which are clearly meant to be silly. Written by Jackson, Stephen Sinclair, and Frances Walsh; with Timothy Balme, Elizabeth Moody, Ian Watkin, and Diana Penalver, charming as the Spanish heroine.

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