Film Review - Alive or Dead

Starring - Ann Henson, Angelica May, Thomas Crnkovich, Masao Kitamura, Diego De Vargas | Directed by Stephen Goetsch | Lionsgate DVD WS R 83min 2008

Review By Joker

Maria is driving down a dirt road and having phone sex with her boyfriend when she comes across a school bus at the side of the road with a message in the window written in blood saying, "Help Me." Maria stops and for her deed gets two flat tires as she waits for the tow truck she enters the bus and finds a young woman (Sarah) chained to the seat and the bus is littered with body parts. Before Maria can escape she is meet with a terrible situation as the killer returns and drives the bus away with her still on board. The bus travels all night and onto morning and stops at a castle in the middle of nowhere, and Maria once the bus drivers away escapes, well kind of she goes back to help Sarah as a fat man (Frank) who was knocked out wakes up and beats down the bus driver and Sarah then kills him with a chain. Now Maria, Sarah and Frank enter the castle looking for help or even a phone. The girls and Frank look all over the place but Frank the hulking mute seems to go crazy and attacks the girls chasing them all around. The two girls piece it together that the bus driver was in fact not the killer, Frank was and now the must fight the brute to stay alive! Maria is stabbed in the leg with a huge piece of wood and it's Sarah who comes to her Aid. They make it to the bus and when entering it they find a strange youth eating some of the dead bodies and after chasing him off they are once again attacked by Frank who re-chains Sarah and runs after the injured Maria. Sarah so desperate to escape hurts her own foot to escape the chains and gets the bus running once more but flees when the deformed youth returns. Maria is once more hurt and finds that an old monk who is the father of a former victim, and torments Frank who is traped, but is attacked by the deformed youth. Sarah and Maria kill the freaky teen and Frank and walk the long path back to the bus. The girls make it to Maria's car but are once more attacked by Frank who kills Maria and chases Sarah to a cabin were she learns that her dad has been helping Frank out for years! In the end Sarah kills the man monster and walks away a changed woman.

Yet another weird direct to DVD film from Lionsgate that packs some punch, but again feels like there could have been so much more in this wanna be gore flick. The film is a mix of "Hills Have Eyes" and "Wrong Turn" and has a huge inbreed dumb ass killer with his freak son killing and eating his victims only in the end to get what's coming to him. The acting in the film is ok from both lead actress, but the rest are your typical independent horror style with no one in the cast every going to be nominated for an Oscar. The effects again are pretty standard and are nothing special at all, and lots of the body parts look fake and rubber like. The Castle set looks great on film and added something more to this middle of the road horror flick, with its large appearance and lonesome feeling it added an almost dreadful feeling to the weak plot. Over all this is just another "Hills" cash in film that adds nothing new to the horror genre.

The DVD's extras are trailers, Commentary and the making of. All a nice touch for this style of film and help add to the watching experience.

Over all this was a pretty weak film that is loaded with hot woman, a lame fat bad guy and some cheese blood and gore. Check it out on cable or a rent at most!