Alice Sweet Alice
Reviewed by Oct 24th, 2000

Alice Sweet Alice happened to be Brooke Sheilds’ first film, and it clocks in just twelve minutes shy of a two-hour running time. But don’t let these things stop you from renting it. I passed it up in the horror section of the local video store many a time, as it looks just like your average, paint by numbers exploitation romp. It’s nothing of the sort. Rather, it’s an intricate, well-crafted thriller which happens to involve a deranged, masked murderer.

Meet the Spages: there’s Karen (Sheilds), the cute, overly perfect little girl preparing for her first communion. Then there’s Alice, the jealous older sister, who happens to enjoy raising cockroaches and wearing weird masks. The mother has a hard time keeping track of Alice, and the father has remarried and moved out of the country. Karen disappears just before her communion, and Alice shows up a moment later with her veil. Smoke starts pouring in from another room, and we see that Karen has been choked to death and burned.

When Alice’s aunt is stabbed (gruesomely!) in the leg by someone wearing a yellow raincoat and a mask, people start pointing fingers at Alice. She gets institutionalized. This is where the film starts moving. I can’t say any more about the plot without potentially spoiling things.

This is a well thought-out movie that really breaks away from the usual slasher mold. The characters are all very well developed, there are several subplots happening, but everything ties together in the end. There’s not a lot of gore, but when there is carnage, it’s used to the fullest effect. The knife through the foot scene, and another victim getting his teeth pounded in with a brick, were pretty painful to watch. The acting was good, the directing very good, nice photography, well-paced. It’s great to see a story like this that doesn’t fall into the realm of camp or exploitation. Highly recommended.

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