This review is of the TV-14 edited version. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative
Whenever you have a film where the villain is an evil baby you are probably in trouble. There are only so many ways you can try to make that work and to date I don’t think any movie has succeeded. There are some interesting elements to the movie for sure and it almost gets into government conspiracy territory but at the end of the day it’s still just not able to get past the premise and I would advise skipping past this movie asap!
So it turns out that mutant babies are being born all across the country. The government has decided to take them down because of the danger that they pose. There are certain things they can use to detect if a couple is going to have one of these babies. The detection isn’t 100% accurate but it’s close enough so if they get a false reading…well that’s going to be another dead baby. Almost nobody knows about this though except for Frank who figured this out after the events of the first film. He heads over to Jody and Eugene to warn them about this since Jody is currently pregnant with a baby that is slated to be one of these demons. They’re rather skeptical but the government isn’t very subtle which tips their hand early. Can the couple escape with Frank or should they stick with the government. Can they trust either one of them?
This is one of those films where you absolutely do not want to trust anybody though. Think about it, the government is absolutely a group you want to avoid because they are going to murder the baby straightaway. So getting away from them is a top concern even if it means going with Frank and his group but then you probably want to escape from them at some point as well. They’ve got a whole lab set up including a bunch of babies in cages. That’s already rather ominous right? So just keep on moving.
What makes it tough though is that Eugene isn’t even really sure if he wans to keep the kid. He’s a little nervous about the whole thing and you totally get it. The kids look like monsters and if they are true demons then is it really even their kid? The way he and Jody handle the situation is bad though as they keep flip flopping. It makes things very easy for the babies to go around beating them up and claiming more victims. For the most part Jody is really the one who wants the kid and you get it because she still did give birth to him. So she has that strong mother’s instinct in play even when the kid seems rather crazy.
This naturally leads to a lot of fighting between the main two. Meanwhile Eugene is scared out of his wits half the time until she talks him back into it. So he doesn’t get to have a whole lot of fun here. In the end I wasn’t particularly a big fan of any of the characters. Frank did well in finding the characters and trying to save the babies but I didn’t think that the place did a great job of looking after them. Somehow things worked out for a while but you should see how they handle these kids. The doctor just opens the cage when it’s feeding time. Inevitably you know this won’t end well.
It’s hard to know what you should even do with the kids long term. It seems like they can’t be tamed so do you just have to keep them in cages forever? They’ll grow up soon in theory so you’ll need more and more space. It just doesn’t seem sustainable. Of course just murdering them like the government isn’t the answer either. It basically means everyone is just in a really bad situation here and I would have liked for the film to focus on this a little more. Let us really think about the moral implications of what is going on here and let us take sides.
Personally I think you would just need an island for these creatures to live in peace but then you have the logistics of getting the families to agree to this and safe procedures to transport them. All aspects that are much tougher than they sound so it’s not something you can just do 1-2-3. The film isn’t super interested in answering these questions though as the second half just becomes your average horror film. The monster babies go around biting and stabbing everyone and you know that the humans are doomed.
It’s all rather violent and you’re just waiting for the government to show up and clean house. The babies seem to enter rage mode at the drop of a hat so you feel like there is really no hope even early on. The film has an interesting ending that could lead to a sequel or you could take it as more of a “The cycle will continue” but to what end? The way the film ends there are certainly less resources so you can’t directly do what Frank did. It would be difficult to replicate that at least without a lot of finances. Ultimately it feels like the government won this round.
It’s a bit tragic because there are some interesting plots here but they really aren’t able to carry the film for very long. I liked Frank’s entrance at the house when he starts telling the characters about what is going on. The scene of all the cops showing up outside of the hospital was suitably ominous and helped the main characters start to piece things together. The movie knew how to build a rather intense atmosphere and so they really should have stuck to that instead of going the horror route. Having everything be shrouded in mystery and the characters going into hiding would have been interesting. Give us more scenes with the government and what they’re planning. Beyond the demon kids the world seems realistic so what do a lot of the inside agents think about this? It’s still like murdering normal babies so surely there are some who would be against this.
Overall, It Lives Again has the wrong priorities here. I think if you tone down the violence a lot and make the babies a non factor then this could have been interesting. Have the film be a debate about what to do with them as the number of babies continues to expand. We could get some good plans out of that and maybe slowly see the doom approaching the country as every minute of inaction means more people are being taken down. It’s hard to escape the inevitable issue of having to shoot the babies though and the film naturally gets dark as a result. I think there are ways around this but I won’t say that it’s easy. It’s just something you have to try and side step. So switching the premise entirely is the best bet but this is a long winded way of saying that your best bet is to just skip this one.