REVIEW: ALYCE KILLS (2011)

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ALYCE KILLS (2011)

Alyce Kills is an interesting and sometimes very gruesome and disturbing tale of downward spiral caused by the refusal to take responsibility for one’s own actions. Alyce (Jade Dornfeld) is a pretty young woman with a mundane job and her own issues. One night she gets together with her best friend Carroll (Tamara Feldman) and a night of partying gets a bit out of control as Carroll finds her boyfriend (James Duval) is unfaithful and convinces Alyce to do drugs with her after a night of drinking. The evening winds up on the roof of Alyce’s building where some poorly judged playfulness leaves Carroll on the pavement barely clinging on to life. Alyce hides from her involvement and soon her growing guilt leads her to seek solace with Carroll’s drug dealer Rex (a very effective Eddie Rouse) who finds more physical ways for pretty Alyce to pay for her increasing drug habit. But drugs don’t stop her pain or the haunting visions of her friend and now Alyce decides to remove herself of guilt by placing it on others and then punishing them for what she sees as their part in Carroll’s accident. From her cheating boyfriend, to Rex, to Carroll herself, Alyce has a disturbing and gruesome plan to remove the guilty parties and thus her own guilt and savagely starts to carry it out.

Writer/director Jay Lee tells his story of guilt and gory murder with an approach that is both straightforward and yet stylish. The film did remind me a bit of American Mary in that it has a down on her luck heroine who turns to some very gruesome activities after an emotionally traumatic event. The difference being Mary was a victim and took full responsibility for her actions whereas Alyce puts her responsibility on others and then bloodily dispatches them to ‘avenge’ an accident that was basically her fault. The film gets increasingly disturbing as we watch Alyce’s descend into homicidal madness and she calmly dispatches her victims and then uses common kitchen implements such as a garbage disposal and blender to try to get rid of the bodies. Even more disturbing then the gore and body parts littering her kitchen is the almost Martha Stewart-like demeanor Alyce sports while working diligently at her task.

Leading lady Jade Dornfeld does good work at portraying a young woman who already has some emotional quirks and is unhappy with her life now slowly sent over the edge by not facing the consequences of her actions. She never goes over the top, which would have been less disturbing in this case, and her slow detachment from her emotional responsibility does come off well. Another performance that stood out for me was Eddie Rouse as drug dealer and streetwise philosopher Rex. Rouse creates a vibrantly realistic portrayal of a street hood who justifies and revels in his place and purpose in society. A very strong and layered portrayal of what could have been a cliche’ supporting character.

The film is not perfect. It has a very methodical pace for a 90 minute flick which works both for and against it. Despite some top notch gore FX, we wonder if maybe Lee spends a bit too much time on Alyce’s blood soaked activities, as a large portion of the last act is the dismemberment of one of her victim’s body right down to scrapping the meat off of their bones. It’s a bit much. Maybe we could have had less of that and one more emotionally disturbing scene like that of Alyce at Carroll’s funeral. That was more effective then seeing body parts and made one’s skin crawl over her inappropriate behavior at such an event. Also, it didn’t seem quite right that the police accepted Alyce’s alibi so easily. It didn’t sound solid to me and the officer questioning it seemed skeptical, but then the police involvement in the story just gets dropped.

Still, even with it’s flaws, I found Alyce an interesting and disturbing watch and there was some nice acting from some of it’s principals. Jay Lee seems to be a filmmaker with potential and in an age of endless remakes and sequels, it’s nice to see a filmmaker create something original and in his own style. Not for everyone, but worth a look for those who like something a little offbeat with their horror.

-MonsterZeroNJ

 

3 baseball bats!

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