I’m pretty sick of zombie movies. I love the genre - Dawn of the Dead
jockeys for position as my favorite movie of all time – but it’s so
tired. The schtick that was set up by George Romero has been played
right into the ground, and we’ve seen enough of the opening and the
middle of zombie apocalypses. Which is one of the charms of Alice
Jacobs is Dead, a short film by Alex Horwitz. Taking place after the
end of a zombie plague, this small, three person film looks at the
undead from a new angle, something that rarely happens anymore.
Dr. Ben Jacobs stopped the zombie plague; his serum halted the spread
of the Z-virus, and the walking dead have been contained; the world is
slowly returning to normal. But he paid a price of his own – during the
plague his wife, Alice, was bitten by a zombie. Jacob’s serum isn’t
able to reverse zombie-ism, but it has been able to keep Alice from
turning for the last year. But she’s constantly getting weaker, and the
sickness grows inside of her. In this film being a zombie is a metaphor
for degenerative disease and the frailty of age.
Horwitz has stocked his film with genre vets. John La Zar – known as
Z-Man in Beyond the Valley of the Dolls – is Ben Jacobs while B-movie
queen Adrienne Barbeau is Alice, sitting home alone and slowly, slowly
losing the battle with her disease. La Zar is weirdly muted in his role
but Barbeau tears into her part with gusto and emotional honesty. The
script could perhaps use another polish but the characters are there,
and I’d be interested in seeing Horwitz taking this short and blowing
it up into feature size (but still avoiding the zombie apocalypse
tropes that have made other zombie films so cliche at this point).
Alice Jacobs is Dead is playing at San Diego Comic Con on July 23rd at
1:45pm in Room 26AB. There’s some zombie violence at the end, but
nothing so grotesque that a teenaged horror hound who has already seen
the works of Romero couldn’t handle.
Behind every great book adaptation is a forgettable first try. — By Ryan Covey