|A girl and her Louisville slugger|
A girl and her garburator
Dir. Jay Lee
Starring: Jade Dornfeld
Review By Greg Klymkiw
Twentysomething Alyce (Dornfeld) toils in a thankless office job, but one evening the offbeat beauty ingests copious amounts of drugs, booze and crazily shakes her booty with a best-best-bestie at a nearby dance club. The lassies end up at Alyce's, continuing their revelry on the picturesque apartment building's rooftop. Alas, Alyce "accidentally" pushes her pal off the roof.
Alyce skedaddles back to her room. When the cops come calling, she opines that her BFF, depressed about her boyfriend, wanted to spend some soothing alone-time on the roof and, Oopsie, guess she decided to end it all. At this point we're wondering if the death was intentional or truly an accident. Who knows, right? Get a couple of ladies together on a roof, all hopped up on ecstasy and a few gallons of booze and it's anybody's guess at this point.
However, as writer-director Lee follows Alyce through her Generation Y emptiness, she seems to get ever-nuttier. Becoming a virtual sex slave to a sleazy drug pusher, she eventually dives into serial killer mode. Drugs, sex and killing fuel her and the ennui fades. Things, dare I say it, converge splendidly upon the tall, sharp point on the dunce cap of her existence, allowing her to always look upon the bright side of life.
|Casting Directors! Are You Asleep?|
Lee gets points for spending so much time on the psychological aspect of the tale whilst playing things straight enough, that the film never feels tongue-in-cheek, but is occasionally humorous (and in one sequence, knee-slappingly hilarious) and always in decidedly nasty ways. Definitely laced with black humour, and often bordering on satirical, he does a decent job of aping Polanski's Repulsion in a contemporary context and blending it with serial killer melodrama.
Saving most of the truly horrific bloodbaths for the last third of the film, we get to concentrate on Alyce and the creepy atmosphere of her world. Lee's screenplay injects a few decent twists and turns, plus one major shocker that surprised even know-it-all curmudgeonly ME.
Leading lady Jade Dornfeld is a revelation. She does indeed have a delectably skewed beauty and sex appeal to burn in addition to handling her thespian gymnastics with deadpan humour and mega-aplomb. Her round, wide face with cheekbones to die for, big ole penetrating almond eyes and a killer smile to rival Jack Nicholson's are assets she puts to superb use in the role of this oddball murderess. As for Dornfeld's output as an actress in other works, I have no idea why we've not seen her in anything of note since 2011. (She appears to have acted in one short and had a supporting role in what seems to be some kind of pseudo-pretentious attempt at a Zalman King erotic thriller.)
Alyce Kills was finished in 2011. It's 2015.
Where is she? Damn, the camera loves her and she's clearly a great actress.
Casting directors! Are you all asleep?
Alyce Kills is derivative of Polanski to be sure, but this is hardly the worst thing a filmmaker can strive for. His derivations are most favourable, indeed. Besides, Lee crams his mise-en-scene with grotesquery galore and takes us on one hell of a roller coaster ride of sickness and horror. Thematically, there are certain aspects which place it into the realm of feminist horror, but it never quite has the resonance of, say, the Soska Twins' American Mary. Well, it's not Lee's fault. Nobody, but nobody does feminist horror like the Soska Ladies. Most importantly, none of this detracts from Lee's picture. He holds his own very nicely. And trust me, you will never, ever look at baseball bats, garburators, blenders, butcher knives, cleavers and handsaws in quite the same way after one of the movie's genuinely great set-pices, a body-disposal-gone-wrong sequence.
So boil up some pasta, slop a thick red meat sauce over it, set up your TV-tray and dine in splendour as you watch Alyce killing: with nerve, poise, cucumber-cool determination and joy, joy, joy in her heart.
THE FILM CORNER RATING: *** 3-Stars
Alyce Kills is now available on a decent DVD transfer from Anchor Bay Entertainment Canada.
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