Sometimes you want a film to flash across the screen and entertain you on multiple levels. You don't wanna think too deeply, however...the commentary is there if you feel the need to look for it. That's precisely what I got when I sat down to watch Alyce Kills. I enjoyed the hell out of Alyce Kills!
So, the other day I made a trip to the RedBox and brought home Thale and Alyce Kills. I watched Alyce Kills first, thinking that I would get the lesser of the two out of the way. I heard nothing but great things from friends who have seen Thale and I thought that was to be the better cinematic experience. Well, I'm here to tell you that I was wrong.
Alyce Kills is the latest release from writer/director Jay Lee...the man who brought us Zombie Strippers. Because, quite frankly...who the hell doesn't like them some Zombie Strippers??! I don't care from what walk of life you stumbled in from...if Zombie Strippers is about to come on TV and you have the nerve to reach for the remote...there is no soul inside that shell of yours. Ok...that's off my chest. Lee displays a very masterful sense of filmmaking with Alyce Kills. The film is much more restrained and singular in scope...and never feels out of the realm of reality. Lee does a fine job of balancing all the cerebral stuff with the black-as-sin humor going on all around. Even the transitions from one act to the next feel organic. He even shot the film himself...which, is beyond impressive...as the cinematography is elegant and adds many layers to the story itself. The man certainly knows how to frame a picture. If nothing else...the film is beautiful for a low budget affair.
But, don't worry...there's more. Much more. Alyce Kills is one of those films that you start watching as one thing...only to be led down a dark corridor as it shape-shifts into something completely different, while maintaining the same basic structure that you've already familiarized yourself with.
The premise is simplistic in explanation yet, complex in execution. The magnetic Jade Dornfeld headlines the picture as the titular Alyce, who, after "accidentally" pushing a life-long friend off the edge of a building, spirals out of control and freely dives into a drug-laden abyss of guilt and self-torture. Dornfeld plays every aspect of Alyce so naturally and silently charismatic. Which is amazing considering how the character morphs into several incarnations of herself...until ultimately embracing her psychotic side. It is a hell of a role to pull off...and Dornfeld does it seemingly effortlessly.
The rest of the cast rounds out nicely. The gorgeous Tamara Feldman plays Alyce's BFF, Carroll. She's a soul-sucking socialite who believes the world revolves around her. Tracey Walter, whom astute fans of 80's films will surely remember as the jewel thief from Conan the Destroyer, shows up as the annoyed dime-dropping landlord. Besides Jade Dornfeld, tho...the other truly memorable performance belongs to Eddie Rouse as the drug pusher with brains, Rex. In my opinion, he's the scene-stealer of the film. He delivers every one of his ample lines with the fervor of an actor looking to win his next Academy Award. And why not? In a just world, Rouse would indeed find some kind of recognition for his efforts in this film. Every facial gesture and verbal punctuation is memorable in the way that his character creeps into your subconscious and stays there. Hell...Rex is still living in my thoughts somewhere.
Even the often ill-fated James Duval pops in as the douchey boyfriend, Vince. Can't this fuckin' guy ever catch a goddamn break?? Still...Duval certainly has a knack for genre fare and this performance is no exception. He does his thing...and looks like he's having fun doing it.
Oh my God...and the gore! The gore is absolutely mind-blowing for a film of this caliber. There is nothing left for the imagination and every drop of blood looks fucking awesome! I died during the bit with the blender. And...Jesus, the garbage disposal made me wonder if it could be used for disposing...well....body parts, and such. The quality-looking FX is a testament to smart and purposeful filmmaking on Lee's part. Really great stuff!
If it sounds like I'm praising Alyce Kills to the highest of the high...well, it's because it is a hell of a film! It's smart, it's fun and it never spends too much time in certain places. And the film also delivers some truly amazing performances throughout. If I could find some faulty stuff...it might be in the script department. I just felt like there are some implausibilities going on here and there. And perhaps some stuff that could've been fleshed out a little more. But, it's ultimately forgivable for a film this fun. There's even a great female masturbation scene! Seriously...how can you go wrong with female masturbation?? Highly recommended!
Thanks for reading,