“ALYCE KILLS” (DVD Review)
Who controls your actions? This is the question that writer/director Jay Lee (ZOMBIE STRIPPERS) poses with his grim trip down the rabbit hole in ALYCE KILLS (now available on DVD from Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment).
Unfortunately Alyce (Jade Dornfeld) has little control in her life. With a job that barely pays the bills and a boss who resents her for being “cute,” Alyce feels she is going nowhere. She clings fiercely to her best, and only, friend Carroll (Tamara Feldman) to the point where the words “Single White Female” are thrown around and the discovery of matching ringtones causes tension between the two. It seems their falling out the year prior hasn’t been completely forgotten, but when Carroll’s boyfriend Vince (James Duval) is caught cheating, Alyce gladly steps in to console her friend. There is a satisfying chemistry between the leading ladies, as the actors bring an authentic female relationship to the table—fraught with past issues that threaten to come to the surface and ruin their night of drinking, devouring red velvet cake and devising bloody revenge schemes for Vince and his new girlfriend. When this isn’t enough, they visit Rex (Eddie Rouse) the local drug dealer for some Ecstasy and proceed to dance their way home and onto the roof where Alyce trips and accidentally sends Carroll over the edge.
One would expect to see the broken, bloody aftermath on the ground but Lee refreshingly leaves this to our imagination and instead focuses on the beginning of Alice’s descent into madness. Dornfeld does a great job of coming apart at the seams slowly. We watch as she begins to hallucinate (or is she being haunted?) ghostly visions of Carroll in the shadows of her room. The daylight brings no relief when Carroll, so far a silent figure, grabs Alyce to demand “who’s in control now, bitch!” Already drowning in her guilt, Alyce visits Rex, losing even more control as she trades her body for more drugs.
After being fired for missing too many days at work, Alyce realizes she has nothing left and her downward spiral quickly darkens. She visits Carroll’s funeral only to be kicked out after molesting the corpse in front of the guests. Looking to satisfy these sudden dark urges, she heads home to masturbate to live war coverage on the news and later booty calls the meathead Kurt (Max Williams) for a rough round in bed that ultimately feels pointless. Dornfeld’s gradual transformation of Alyce from little girl lost to lustful “lesbo necrophile” may be a treat to watch, but the breakneck speed of her shift to deranged killer ultimately falls flat
With a mere 15 minutes remaining, Alyce puts one of Carroll’s revenge fantasies into action and as soon as the guts spill out onto the floor, all gory hell breaks loose. Fans of Lee’s aforementioned opus ZOMBIE STRIPPERS will certainly enjoy the comedy that seeps in with the gore, though anyone enjoying the previous moody slow-burn will find this quick change far too jarring. That said, ALYCE KILLS is still a relatively enjoyable dark ride.
Special features include various cast interviews (sans Dornfeld) and a making-of featurette. For another take on ALYCE KILLS, check out our review in FANGORIA magazine #327, on stands this September.