Alyce Kills Review: From Zero to Psycho
Jade Dornfeld plays the title character Alyce Kills, the story of a woman driven to extremes by guilt and a severe inability to cope with life. Alyce is kind of what I imagine Stephen King’s character Carrie White might have grown up to be if all that psychic rage hadn’t gotten in the way first. Alyce is a colorless woman who floats through her life with the barest human contact possible. She’s so withdrawn that when people touch her shoulder to get her attention, she often flinches. As one would expect, Alyce works in a soul-sucking corporate job where her immediate supervisor, Danielle despises her and tries to get her fired for every small infraction of the rules. The only thing that saves her is that her boss thinks Alyce is “cute.” And she is, in a fragile sort of way.
There’s nothing wrong with having a boring life if that’s what you want, but as a mobie character Alyce doesn’t provide the audience much incentive to root for her in the beginning, which means we don’t develop sympathy for her. This is important because she comes off as slightly pathetic, but not in a way that causes the audience to like her. So having to watch her struggles and problems on the screen becomes a chore instead of being fun or enjoyable.
This feeling fades when we meet Carroll, a vivacious, fun-loving (maybe only) friend of Alyce. There’s a long history between the two women, and much only gets hinted at, including a time period where Alyce attempted to pull a “Single White Female” on Carroll. If you’ve never sen that flick I’ll fill you in real fast: one woman likes the others life so much that she copies it in every detail, same hair color and style, same clothes, you get the picture. Alyce has retreated for the most part from trying to be like Carroll in every aspect, except that she has the same ring tone. When Carroll hears this she gets snarky about it and Alyce says it’s a coincidence.
Carroll is the one person who bothers to keep Alyce in touch with the real world. She drags her out to clubs, where they see people from their pasts who used to be friends with Alyce but now just treat her as Carroll’s hanger-on. There’s a lot of contempt thrown Alyce’s way by these ex-friends, which lends the interactions a nice weight and makes them feel authentic.
Carroll is the dramatic one, so it’s no surprise that some stuff happens which causes her and Alyce to go on a drinking binge that almost includes a girl on girl love scene and does include the buying and taking of drugs and a not-so-smart trip to the roof. The almost love scene between Alyce and Carroll is one of the best parts early on in the movie. Not because clothes are torn off and passion is indulged, but because it reveals a lot about Alyce’s character and how deeply she really does care for Carroll. It works to humanize Alyce a little, because we finally see something she desires strongly. You can see her disappointment when nothing comes of Carroll’s off-handed remark, and that brings the audience closer to Alyce as well.
It’s not a spoiler to say the trip to the roof ends badly for Carroll, who doesn’t realize just how sensitive Alyce is about that whole “Single White Female” phase. It’s a stray, muttered remark by Carroll about it that causes Alyce to finally snap and push Carroll off the roof.
The middle section of the film deals with Alyce’s guilt at having pushed Carroll, but also her panic at realizing that the fall didn’t finish the job. She goes and visits Rex, the drug dealer that sold the women the drugs on that fateful night, which puts her on a slide to doom. Rex is one of the deepest characters in Alyce Kills, which maybe isn’t saying much but it makes his screen time the balm needed for all the moments where we watch Alyce mope around after killing Carroll.
Alyce tries to give him money for the drugs she wants, but he wants sex instead, to which she reluctantly agrees. We spend a while watching Alyce get stronger and stronger drugs from Rex and take them, which doesn’t stop her guilt from producing phantoms of Carroll to remind her of what she’s done. In these moments, Rex gets a lot of character development, making him the most full person in the entire film. Which is weird, considering he’s a scumbag drug dealer.
It takes almost until the last forty minutes of the film for the pace to change and for Alyce to grow desperate enough to finally live up to the title of Alyce Kills. It’s unfortunate that it takes so long, because I thoroughly enjoyed what she did once she finally snapped. There’s an awesome funeral scene where it seems like she’s finally come to terms with her feelings for Carroll. Unfortunately, it’s Carroll’s funeral where this happens, and it’s just grotesque and wonderful all at the same time.
Yes, Alyce Kills, and it’s comedic to watch her attempts to butcher the body of her first victim. What’s even better is that she doesn’t lie about it. She tells everyone who asks the truth, though no one believes her. It’s also important when she decides not to kill, because hey, sometimes suffering a living hell is a more fitting punishment than death.
Alyce Kills wasn’t easy to watch. There were times when I was bored. However, the movie rewards your patience with a violent and funny last act that impressed the hell out of me. Just like the people she massacres, I never thought Alyce had it in her to kill.
Summary : Alyce Kills wasn't easy to watch. However, it rewards your patience with a violent and funny last act that impressed the hell out of me.