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Dead Alive (Braindead) (1993)

Dead Alive (Braindead)


Average Rating: 7.3/10
Reviews Counted: 29
Fresh: 25
Rotten: 4

Critics Consensus: The delightfully gonzo tale of a lovestruck teen and his zombified mother, Dead Alive is extremely gory and exceedingly good fun, thanks to Peter Jackson's affection for the tastelessly sublime.

No Top Critics Tomatometer score yet...

Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Counted: 4
Fresh: 3
Rotten: 1


Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 63,759


Movie Info

A monkey bite turns the white-breaded, overbearing mother of a New Zealand youth into a voracious zombie in this extremely gory black comedy. Realizing that he has a bonafide monster on his hands, the boy knows he should destroy her, but when push comes to shove, the son realizes he has no stomach for matricide. That her condition proves contagious does little to sway his devotion to her.

R (for an abundance of outrageous gore)
Horror , Science Fiction & Fantasy , Comedy
Directed By:
Written By:
Stephen Sinclair , Frances Walsh , Peter Jackson
In Theaters:
Sep 8, 1998
Trimark Pictures - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Dead Alive (Braindead)

All Critics (29) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (25) | Rotten (4) | DVD (12)

The best to date from Kiwi gore specialist Peter Jackson.

Full Review… | July 22, 2008
Top Critic

The finale, in which Lionel reduces a horde of flesh-eaters to a mulch of blood, flesh and offal with the aid of a flymo, is probably the goriest scene ever.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Horror films used to be primordial spook shows, tapping midnight-dark fears. Now they tap bodily goo: rivers of blood, dripping limbs, eyeballs that go pop in the night.

Full Review… | February 12, 1993
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Takes a few views to really appreciate, but Peter Jackson's blood-splattered horror masterpiece is a gory good time.

Full Review… | January 29, 2012

Lionsgate's visceral, albeit barebones Blu-ray package lets viewers really sink their teeth into Dead Alive.

Full Review… | October 20, 2011
Slant Magazine

Originally released as Braindead, this gory, maccabre satire of 1950s New Zealand society is yet another proof that Peter Jackson is one of the sharpest, most skillful directors working in the genre; a good companion piece to Meet the Feebles.

Full Review… | June 25, 2008

Rarely has the urge to expectorate one's lunch been a feeling so sublime.

Full Review… | October 17, 2007
Projection Booth

Braindead is the magnum opus of Peter Jackson's early career.

Full Review… | October 24, 2006
Not Coming to a Theater Near You

Arguably the goriest movie ever made

June 12, 2004
Lawrence Journal-World

I wish I could say that I loved it, but at the risk of offending every fanboy out there, I'm afraid I have a red caro-syrup covered bone to pick with it.

Full Review… | March 19, 2003

A gore classic featuring an ***-kicking priest, a grandmother swallowing a cat whole, a house full of zombies, and a lawnmower.

February 26, 2003
KFOR Channel 4 News

How can you not love a movie with the line, "Your mother ate my dog"?

Full Review… | August 21, 2002
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

One of the true classics of splatterdom. Sickeningly wonderful.

July 27, 2002

It was hysterically funny at times, but the urge to laugh had to compete with the urge to vomit.

Full Review… | February 28, 2002
Goatdog's Movies

Before he discovered Kate Winslet in Heavenly Creatures, Peter Jackson's work looked more like it came from Troma.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000

Unquestionably the single goriest film ever made.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Bryant Frazer's Deep Focus

If you are a little squeamish then this is not the film for you, however those of a nervous disposition need not worry as Jackson is definitely playing for laughs.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Edinburgh U Film Society

A Tex Avery cartoon of hyperbolic gore, which gets funnier with each disgusting new sight gag.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Nashville Scene

Sick. Perverse. Brilliant.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Austin Chronicle

Audience Reviews for Dead Alive (Braindead)

Think Greg Kihn's "Our Love's In Jeopardy" video @ 200 mph. Fuck I dated myself.

Bob Stinson

Super Reviewer



Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

Who would have thought that Peter "Lord of the Rings" Jackson started his career off by making campy, gory horror schlock films like this? This film, despite the copious and over the top amounts of blood and gore, is actually quite hilarious and enjoyable.

The plot follows a village dweeb who tries to have a budding romance, while also trying to conceal the fact that his overbearing mother is a flesh-eating zombie.

The tone of the film is deliriously cartoonish and over the top.I think that's what makes it surprising considering that it's also probably the goriest film I've ever seen, if not the goriest of all time. Seriously. I can't believe how gruesome and messy this film gets, and I actually feel even more twisted for finding it all so friggin' amusing. The effects are very well done, and really make you appreciate the effort that goes into this sort of thing.

The acting is also surprisingly really good, and there's some good lines, too.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

"Dead Alive" is a weird, gory, disgusting movie. It's also pretty funny. As far as zombie films go this is one of my favorites. Peter Jackson pre-LOTR era. It's some brutal stuff.

Market Man
Eric Shankle

Super Reviewer

Dead Alive (Braindead) Quotes

Father McGruder/Zombie McGruder:
The devil is amongst us.
– Submitted by Thomas R (14 months ago)
Uncle Les:
I see you've come across your uncle's old stag films. Is this the one with the donkey and the chambermaid?
– Submitted by Thomas R (14 months ago)
Father McGruder/Zombie McGruder:
Stand back boy, this calls for divine intervention!
– Submitted by Thomas R (17 months ago)
They're not dead exactly, they're just... sort of rotting.
– Submitted by Nick S (2 years ago)
Paquita Maria Sanchez:
Your mother ate my dog!
Not all of it!
– Submitted by Jonathan C (2 years ago)
Party's over!
– Submitted by Rocky F (2 years ago)

Discussion Forum

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