Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Review - Alyce (2011 - Dir. Jay Lee)

(Alas, Doccortex's Ladies' Night Season draws to an end with this final review. As a treat lets have a bit of live Kool & the Gang. "C'mon fellas, let's salute the girls." - evlkeith)

To complete our Ladies’ Night season, it’s the scuzzy, splatter filled charms of Alyce. If it wasn’t so grubby and unhygienic it could almost be gritty, but sadly the hallmarks of the horror genre are always subtly present (what do you mean, "sadly"?). It’s all very dark and grimy, like some 1980’s VHS stalwart from the cobweb infested shelves of Creepy’s Video Emporium, with plenty of drug taking, dodgy night clubs, gangsters and amateur prostitution. For more wholesome amateur prostitution see Belle de Jour. But with all this grizzly unpleasantness, is it actually any good?

Well surprisingly enough, it’s a little old school treat. The first three quarters of the film deals with the fallout from our heroine, Alyce, (Jade Dornfeld) ‘accidentally’ pushing her best friend from the roof of a tall building. She descends into a decreasing spiral of mental illness, drug use and general sleeziness and throughout this process, Dornfeld’s acting is always believable, natural and suitably detached. In the last quarter the whole thing explodes into a mini splatter fest, which is funny but borders on full scale slapstick, which is certainly not to everyone’s taste.

It’s the atmosphere that elevates the film from oddity to enjoyable oddity. There’s a real sense that the story is taking place in society’s dark underbelly in the depraved eighties and the whole thing has been made with the express purpose of being released straight to video. You feel like you’re watching something from a bygone age, but in a really good way.

I doubt it’s to everyone’s taste, but with a certain amount of low expectations, it’s well worth a watch. Possibly best watched late at night on your oldest TV set with a couple of Soda Stream orange squashes, over fizzed of course.


If you like this you could also try:
Excision, Belle de Jour.

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