Watch It's Alive 3: Island of the Alive
- 1 hr 35 min
It's Alive 3: Island of the Alive is the third installment in the horror franchise that first shocked audiences in 1974 with "It's Alive," a film about a murderous mutant baby. Directed by the original franchise creator Larry Cohen, this 1987 sequel attempts to close the trilogy with yet another dive into the horrifying scenario of killer infants and the societal response to their existence. Starring Michael Moriarty, Karen Black, and Laurene Landon, the film brings back the terror with a new twist, taking the fearsome creatures to a secluded environment.
The film opens with the controversial legal battle that sets the tone for the plot. Stephen Jarvis, expertly portrayed by Michael Moriarty, is a father grappling with the grim reality of having fathered one of the mutant offspring. His character arcs through various stages of denial, anger, and acceptance throughout the film, with Moriarty delivering a powerful performance that underscores the human element amidst the monstrous turmoil.
Karen Black plays the role of Ellen Jarvis, who complements her husband's journey with a performance that embodies the emotional turbulence of a mother caught in a nightmarish scenario—one where societal fear and confusion heavily impact personal tragedy. Through Black's portrayal, the film examines not only the horror of the mutants but also the profound effects such horror has on family dynamics.
Laurene Landon appears as Sally, an influential character that becomes intertwined with the Jarvis family’s ordeal. Her screen presence adds another layer to the narrative, offering a perspective that explores themes of empathy and protection in the face of widespread panic and repulsion.
The story itself progresses from courtroom dramas and media frenzies to an experimental resolution for the mutant children issue. Under pressure to deal with what is perceived as a public menace, the government decides to quarantine the surviving mutant infants on a remote island, hence the film’s title, Island of the Alive. This isolated environment is considered the only place where society can safely be rid of them, but also where the infants will have a chance to survive, albeit far from human civilization.
As time passes, the isolated location becomes less of a safe haven and more of a mysterious hotbed for something unnerving. The film takes a turn into a survival narrative as the focus shifts to human explorers who venture to the island to discover the fate of the infants. What they find challenges their understanding of life, evolution, and what it means to be human, as the island has seen changes since its initial transformation into a quarantined zone.
The director, Larry Cohen, known for his knack for mixing social commentary with B-movie horror tropes, stands by his signature style in Island of the Alive. With a theme that delves into fear of the unknown and the moral complexity of dealing with creatures that are both innocent in their birthright and horrifying in their existence, Cohen questions the boundaries of humanity's sympathy and cruelty.
Cohen's use of practical effects and minimal reliance on computer-generated imagery keeps in step with the trilogy's established aesthetic. The mutant infants are rendered to invoke both disgust and pity, a duality that has defined the franchise and presented audiences with a unique blend of visceral horror and psychological torment.
On the technical front, the cinematography captures the eerie isolation of the island setting, juxtaposing natural beauty with the unnatural presence of the mutants. The sound design punctuates the suspense with jarring cries and environmental ambiance that heightens the tension as the plot unfolds.
The pacing can be described as somewhat uneven, taking its time to build the atmosphere and delve into the characters' psyche, interspersed with moments of intense conflict and fear-driven action. It's Alive 3: Island of the Alive may not have the breakneck speed of modern horror, but it instead opts for a slow-burn approach to storytelling, one that gradually reveals its monsters and confronts the audience with ethical dilemmas.
Admittedly, It's Alive 3: Island of the Alive is a product of its time, reflecting 1980s horror sensibilities, with all the trappings of cult cinema. The performances, the practical effects, and the bold narrative choices present a film that perhaps resonates best with fans of the genre or those with an appreciation for the franchise's unique place in horror movie history.
The movie is an ambitious conclusion to a trilogy that has long stirred both critique and cult acclaim, and while it revisits the familiar themes of parental fear and society's judgment, it also ventures into new, unsettling territory. It presents a conclusion that is as much about the resolution of the trilogy’s central threat as it is about the exploration of human responses to the extraordinary and unknown.
It's Alive 3: Island of the Alive is a 1987 horror movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 35 minutes. It has received mostly poor reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 4.9.