It's Alive (1974)

Genres - Horror, Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Creature Film  |   Release Date - Oct 18, 1974 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 90 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Craig Butler

One of the better "demon child" horror film cycle that began with Rosemary's Baby, It's Alive! actually holds up pretty well, even decades after its release. Granted, its very low budget is even more obvious today than it was in 1974, and there's simply no getting over the fact that the poor production values do have an impact. For example, the cinematography is clumsy, which occasionally detracts. More problematic is the monster baby itself. While writer/director Larry Cohen wisely keeps the child hidden as much as possible, there are times when it is clear that the creature is really little more than a doll. When the baby is shown in partial view, via a small adult in a mask, the difference in size is jarring. However, Cohen's script is such a fine model for this genre and hits the intended horror notes so well that it's easy to overlook these flaws. It's Alive packs plenty of punch, as well as humor, often mixing the two in a wonderfully bizarre fashion, as in the infamous milk truck sequence. The delivery room sequence is also a highlight, and the climactic chase doesn't disappoint. Best of all, Cohen has created in Frank Davies a character of sufficient complexity to engage and hold audience interest. And in John Ryan's hands, he truly comes alive. Ryan is able to take what in other hands would seem abrupt character swerves and make them seem natural. It's a very fine horror film performance and it is one of the major factors in the film's success. Gory and manipulative, It's Alive is still great fun for genre fans.