Alive or Dead

Alive or Dead

Alive or Dead (2008)

A girl driving alone comes across a seemingly abandoned bus.  On board, she finds a captive surrounded by the signs of slaughter.  When the madman responsible returns, Maria finds herself trapped on the bus as he drives them to a secluded castle in the desert.  Then the terror truly begins.

The cliched setup (girl traveling alone decides to investigate the cryptic “Help Me” scrawled in blood on a bud window) is almost made up for by the novel location of the bulk of the film…except that the castle in the middle of the desert just seems silly.  A lot of this movie seems silly.  The acting, the dialog, the exposition…lots of it.

What could have been just another deranged cannibal/wildman movie gets some credit for trying something a little different to change things up.  But the slapdash writing leaves behind a muddled story that might have had some meat to it, if more of it wound up in the script.  Somehow, this movie gives you the idea that the writer actually had kind of an interesting story but did an atrocious job of telling it.

Ultimately, the result is a movie that has a lot missing and not enough to fill in the holes.  You have to read a lot into the story, and while too much hand holding is a bad thing, leaving the viewer in limbo as you fumble around with the loose ends of your story isn’t much of an approach either.  A ridiculously forced and awkward ending didn’t help things any.


Stars: 2/5



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