Every year a new zombie movie pops up out of the grave, whether it’s satiric (Shaun of the Dead), humorously indie (Zombieland), disappointingly bad (Undead), or impressively scary (the Dawn of the Dead remake and their pants-crappingly fast zombies). With so many zombie films in existence, it’s challenging to stand out in the genre and bring something fresh (well, as fresh as a rotting corpse can be, anyway) to the table. Fortunately, director Alex Horwitz brings us a bite-sized morsel of undead goodness in the short but well-executed and emotionally complex Alice Jacobs is Dead.

The Players:

  • Director: Alex Horwitz
  • Writer: Alex Horwitz
  • Producers: Brian Schwartz, Jacob Robinson, Ariana Mufson, Alex Horwitz, Jake Cohen
  • Actors: John Lazar, Adrienne Barbeau, Peter Cambor

The Plot:

In the aftermath of the devastating Z-virus which has all but obliterated mankind, Dr. Ben Jacobs has created a drug that appears to prevent early stages of the virus from spreading. Now the scientist is trying to decimate the disease once and for all, but what happens when his emotions get in the way of his work?

The Good:

  • Adrienne Barbeau: Ms. Barbeau is no stranger to horror films, having starred in The Fog and appeared in Creepshow and The Twilight Zone. She mesmerizes and captivates the audience with an impressive range of loving devotion, fear, uncertainty and horror, all in just 21 minutes.
  • The “tip of the cap” to zombie classics: The film gives a few winks and nods to classic zombie films that any undead movie aficionado will instantly recognize and appreciate.
  • The disquieting subtleties: Viewers catch unsettling glimpses of the Z-virus’s impact in subtle but unforgettable ways. A collapsed bridge here and a smear of blood there are all that’s needed to remind us that the nightmare might not be over yet.

The Bad:

  • The run time: At a bite-sized 21 minutes, Alice Jacobs is Dead is shorter than an episode of a sitcom. Its straightforward but compelling plot leaves the viewer wanting more. You could argue that one can have too much of a good thing, but honestly, you can never have too many zombies.


Alice Jacobs is Dead manages to successfully explore a more complex range of emotions in less than 30 minutes than most films, horror or otherwise, do in 2 hours. An exciting mixture of tenderness, love, drama, suspense and terror, the movie gives a swift boot in the ass to other zombie films and demonstrates that you can have both horror and heart…even when it’s stopped beating.

Rating: 9/10

Alice Jacobs is Dead debuted July 23rd at the Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival. At this point the filmmakers do not know when or how it will be released.

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