Mixed or average reviews - based on 7 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 7
  2. Negative: 1 out of 7
  1. 78
    The "Citizen Kane" of Oedipal zombie-cannibal-right to death-comedy-love stories... So gleefully over-the-top that it's decidedly hard not to gag while you're laughing yourself incontinent... Sick. Perverse. Brilliant.
  2. A gonzo splatterfest from New Zealand that manages to stay breezy and good-natured even as you're watching heads get snapped off of spurting torsos.
  3. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    There is good, broad humor amid the very gross gore effects. And when the Living Impaired stalk our hero's home, it's a family reunion out of your bloodiest nightmares. [8 Feb 1993, p.83]
  4. Reviewed by: David Stratton
    Technically, this is Jackson's best to date, with state of the art creature and gore effects by Richard Taylor and prosthetics design by Bob McCarron. There's any amount of dismemberment, disembowelling, beheading, and the like, all of it handled with bloody conviction.
  5. Reviewed by: Michael Gingold
    An almost unrelenting barrage of gore, Dead Alive is also a constant assault on the funnybone, a film in which the graphic blood-spilling is taken so far over the top that it becomes hilarious instead of disgusting.
  6. Ordinarily I don't care for this kind of thing at all, but something must be said for Jackson's endless reserves of giddy energy; perhaps because this is so clearly meant to be silly, he generally avoids the calculated mean-spiritedness of more prestigious directors like Spielberg and Renny Harlin.
  7. Because all of this looks blatantly unreal, and because the timing of the shock effects is so haphazard, Dead Alive isn't especially scary or repulsive. Nor is it very funny. Long before it's over, the half-hour-plus bloodbath that is the climax of the film has become an interminable bore. [12 Feb 1993, p.C16]
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 37 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 13
  2. Negative: 0 out of 13
  1. Sep 29, 2012
    Why did the critics give this a mediocre score? It's a great film full of gore and comedy. The goriest film I saw and one of the funniest too. Plus it's directed by Peter Jackson so you should definitely watch this. Full Review »
  2. Oct 20, 2012
    Dead Alive, or Brain Dead as it's known in New Zealand, is basically a love story crammed with zombies, humor, and stomach-churning gore. It's absolutely hilarious, and not in the typical zombie-comedy way. It ends up coming across as more of a spoof of zombie movies, but in a good way, a funny way. The movie is regarded as the goriest movie of all time, and for good reason. Let me put it this way if your even the least bit squeamish DON'T watch this movie you will be sick. I loved every second of it, and it's now one of my favorite movies of all time. I highly recommend this to zombie-comedy fans, or just comedy fans who can put up with all the gore. Full Review »
  3. Jun 29, 2013
    You know, I always thought Peter Jackson was a macho man for the excellent LOTR series but I was TOTTALY wrong. Dead Alive really ticks audiences off, by its spaghetti bone-crushing extreme gore and hilariously devilish story. A story about an infested community might not be everyone's cup of tea but if you are a Shaun Of The Dead fan or even Tucker And Dale, its for you. DA still is one of the goreiest movies I have ever watched as a critic, but nonetheless also the most absurd and with the most weapon wielding usage. DA is also boring on sites, you are so much bored by the violent theme of the overall film that you want more but this movie declines and for a Jackson movie this is not right. It's not the gorefest feeling that makes you sick but also puts a smile on your face. Gladly, I discovered this film on the Internet and ordered it through Amazon for $4.99, Dead Alive should be a good buy for some people, cheap and one classic stupid fun movie that no one should forget- New Zealand especially! In the end- it's not for EVERYONE but one to enjoy. And to barf at. Full Review »