Director: Jay Lee
Writer: Jay Lee
In Alyce Kills, watch Alyce (Jade Dornfeld) delve deep into the rabbit hole of insanity after she accidentally murders her best friend Carroll (Tamara Feldman) by pushing her off a roof. Where the film begins, we see seemingly average loner Alyce getting ready for her day at work, where her uptight boss Danielle (Rena Owen) seems to have it out for her and watches her every move.
After a day of snarky comments from Danielle, Alyce reconnects with her old friend Carroll to unwind at the bar, where we are introduced to gym freak Kurt. Kurt is the special kind of douche who likes to make third-person puns about himself, unfortunately referring to his penis as the ‘Kurt-ain rod.’ He is something else, that man. At the bar we also meet what seem to be former friends of Alyce’s: Renee (Whitney Anderson), Mike (Bret Roberts) and Carroll’s boyfriend Vince (James Duval.) It soon becomes apparent that Danielle isn’t the only one who has it in for Alyce, as her former friends (sans Carroll) make their rounds of insulting her. At this point I am basically just rooting for Alyce, who seems to have an unhealthy obsession with Carroll (even down to copying her ringtone.) Before they leave, Carroll catches Vince exchanging naughty texts with another girl, and the two friends walk home while outwardly drunkenly fantasizing about the best ways to off the cheating boyfriend.
Now that we’ve met the old gang, let’s get to know the new one. Once Alyce and Carroll arrive back at Alyce’s place, Carroll jokingly suggests that she should sleep with Alyce to make Vince jealous. (Spoiler: Alyce seems down for it.) In their drunken exposition-laden conversations, we learn a little bit of their friendship’s backstory -- the duo had a falling out when Alyce started becoming obsessive and bizarre and copying Carroll. After some vomiting and drunken shenanigans, the friends decide to hunt out some drugs and end up at a dealer named Rex (Eddie Rouse), who, according to Carroll, has all the good stuff. They buy (and take) some ecstasy as they aimlessly roam the streets intoxicated, before coming up with the brilliant plan to head up to the roof of Alyce’s apartment building -- just being a couple of adult teenagers. Carroll jumps up on the ledge of the roof to walk along it, and Alyce teasingly sneaks up behind her with plotting baby T-rex hands. I am not entirely sure what Alyce’s plan was here, but we will never find out. Alyce stumbles. and then silence. As she gets up, she notices that Carroll is nowhere to be seen before hearing people screaming below. Coming to the realization that she may have accidentally killed her friend, Alyce collects Carroll’s things and stashes them in her place in panic.
After a sleepless night full of hallucinations and delusions of a vengeful Carroll, the police show up at Alyce’s door for questioning. Alyce stretches the truth and tells them Carroll was drunk and upset about her boyfriend before she went up onto the roof, while also lying about her own presence there. As the cops leave, they inform Alyce that Carroll in fact survived, but is unable to talk as her jaw is wired shut. Alyce stops by to visit her in the hospital and runs into Carroll’s parents, who are also visiting. As she lies to Carroll’s parent about what had taken place, Carroll wakes up and begins to writhe in discomfort as she is unable to say what actually went down.
Freaked out, Alyce decides to go back to Rex and his dealer buddies to take off the edge, but not having enough money, she sleeps with Rex for the drugs. Later, at home, Alyce takes the drugs and trips out badly, using Carroll’s lipstick to draw on her face, dances to loud music, and hallucinates. The next day Alyce heads to work strung out and late, where Danielle tells her that she is on thin ice and after one more slip-up she will be fired.
From here on out, the movie consists of Alyce descending into addiction and madness. Eventually we find our antiheroine at the hospital, hovering over her incapacitated friend’s face with a pillow in hand -- and that’s just the beginning. Want to see where this leads? Will Alyce reconnect with any of her friends -- or will she ‘reconnect’ with some of her friends? Will she get her life together and keep her job? Head down to your favourite store or streaming service and check out Alyce Kills to find out.
As a whole, I really enjoyed this movie -- especially the dark humour and unique editing. Often during drug deals or recurring scenes, the camera will jump ahead to random cuts of the next scene to show where we end up, or cut to quick flashes and shots forward to the height of Alyce’s violent insanity -- kind of like if David Lynch directed some Bourne Supremacy action scenes. I also enjoyed a cinematographic technique often used in this film where the camera closes in on the character’s face, but is framed in a way that it cuts off part of it. These uncommon disproportional shots seemed to really fit the atmosphere and the tone of the movie. These tricks all sees to be used to give the viewers a sense of anxiousness, and also to let you in on the feeling of what’s going on in Alyce’s head. In general, the tone, colours and cinematography was very dark and well-done. There’s so much that I would love to say here about specific favourite scenes and moments, but I will refrain for the sake of keeping this review spoiler-free. This movie carries a dark comedic element which keeps things a little bit silly while not taking away from the severity of Alyce’s descent into madness.
However, although I enjoyed it, not every movie is perfect. I feel like this movie should have given us more of a connection or a relationship with Vince and her former friends, as many characters seem to be tossed in the movie just to up the potential body count. I also had a problem during a large part of the middle of the movie, where focus seemed to steer away from Alyce’s sanity (or lack thereof) and became a montage of a drug addict getting her fixes, though I understand this is supposed to be working up to a dramatic climax. On the plus side though, as much as I feel these drug-dealing scenes went on a bit too long, they did still manage to keep them interesting. The conversations and stories that Rex shares, as well as the quickly-paced close-up shots keep the viewers’ attention, so those scenes don’t completely take you out of the movie. The film also had some very silly characters like Kurt and the very small role of the bartender. While Kurt did not seem very out-of-place, (he’s a guy who you just can’t take seriously -- that’s the point,) at one point the bartender offers Alyce and Carroll drinks in a leprechaun voice, and that seemed too silly and over-the-top and could have been taken out.
This is just me being nitpicky, but there is also some small creative choices that bothered or confused me as well. For example, when Alyce trips and accidentally pushes Carroll off the roof, it just appears that Carroll is gone. There was no scream (which I would suspect is to leave the viewer in suspense on whether Carroll fell or not) but once she trips we all know what happened and we can all safely assume that Carroll has fallen. One could also argue that the viewer is seeing and hearing this moment through Alyce’s perspective, and that she is in shock or worried for the worst that she had actually pushed her friend off the ledge. And what was Alyce planning on doing behind Carroll before she tripped, anyway?
Overall though, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, and I’m proud to say that I had bought it on a whim and do not regret it. I would rate this movie 6 mutilated corpses out of 10.