Alice in Murderland

Dir: Dennis Devine
Star: Malerie Grady, Marlene Mc'Cohen, Kelly Kula, Christopher Senger

The concept of an Alice in Wonderland-themed slasher pic isn't a bad one, and the concept is not badly executed here. There's enough nods to Lewis Carroll's work to keep you interested, e.g. the caterpillar is the local sorority stoner, the rich bitch is the Red Queen, etc. However, there is just so much stupidity present in the rest of things, that any positive impact is erased. That is clear in the basic concept:" 20 years after her mother was murdered, by person or persons unknown, and her father vanished, Alice Lewis (Grady) agrees to a bizarre plan by her college student gal-pals to have her 21st birthday Alice-themed party in the same, largely untouched and dilapidated building where the killings took place. What a great way to celebrate your entrance into adulthood! Who could possibly resist such a brilliant, fun concept? Oh, and let's enforce a "no cellphones" rule too, shall we? Needless to say, it's not long before the bodies are stacked up, in a way never quite imagined in the original. Seems someone, dressed as the Jabberwocky, still has a grudge against Alice. Or, at least, costumed co-eds.

In the right hands, this might have worked, but despite some occasionally enthusiastic gore, and performances that are among the lesser of the film's problems, this doesn't work. There are a variety of reasons for this, but mostly it's that the film is populated with relentless stupid characters, which only works for the one playing Tweedledum. The rest are amazingly oblivious to the rules of survival, even as their numbers rapidly shrink, persistently wandering off by themselves and behaving as if they want to die. There is also a shocking and quite unwarranted complete lack of nudity, which can not be tolerated in this genre. Instead, there is only - not for the first time in Devine's filmography - a scene where an actress gets stuck climbing through a window, which is certainly a fairly specific fetish. By the time the climactic revelation is...revealed, you'll be hard pushed to care very much, and it contains exactly as much logic as the rest of the film, which would be "very little." I suppose this could be seen as a reflection of being through the looking-glass, but I'm not very convinced.

[February 2013]

Off with their heads!
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