“It’s Alive” — not to be confused with Larry Cohen’s 1974 horror exploitation hit — is an engaging and funny bit of computer generated animation that honors the oldest aspects of the horror film tradition.
The tale of a frog-like monster who visits the local mad doctor to reanimate his beloved dog, “It’s Alive” is a veterinary retelling of “Frankenstein” which basically goes the premise of Tim Burton’s short, “Frankenweeny,” one better.
The main attraction here are some truly gorgeous CGI graphics. A mixture of horror and cartoony elements that pays homage to the work of horror masters James Whale and Todd Browning, “It’s Alive” is a direct descendent of “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and possibly “Mad Monster Party” (a near-forgotten Rankin-Bass production with brilliant character designs by “Mad” cartoonist Jack Davis). Wherever the young filmmakers behind this film got their inspiration, these are impishly grotesque characters with genuine appeal.
With gorgeous Danny Elfman-esque music (composed and performed by Dave Winer, one of the five student animators behind “It’s Alive”) and a slightly kinky ending which suggests a relationship that’s got to be illegal in most states, “It’s Alive” is a good-natured and accomplished homage to classic horror films and the silent era.