Alyce (2011)
By: Rip on July 10, 2012  | 
Accent | Region 4, PAL | 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced) | English DD 2.0 | 90 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Jay Lee
Starring: Jade Dornfeld, Tamara Feldman, James Duval, Eddie Rouse, Rena Owen
Screenplay: Jay Lee
Country: USA
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What do you get when you cross Taxi Driver, Clean Shaven and author Lewis Carroll's classic tale, Alice In Wonderland? Possibly something like Alyce, a neat little indie psycho-horror drama from director Jay (Zombie Strippers) Lee.

Alyce (Jade Dornfield) is a pretty, child-like call centre operator with a troubled past who spends her days working for a nasty and seemingly ever jealous boss (Rena Owen from Once Were Warriors) at a finance company. She lives alone and worryingly spends a lot of time watching television coverage of the war in the Middle East. One night, Alyce heads to a bar for a night out with her closest friend Carroll (Tamara Feldman from Hatchet). As they party it up, Carroll discovers that her boyfriend is cheating on her and, obviously upset, drags herself and Alyce away to the home of a drug dealer (Eddie Rouse), where they score some extacy and head back to Alyce's apartment to get high. Once the drugs take hold, the pair head up to the roof atop the apartment block where Alyce accidentally (or was it?) pushes Carroll off the edge. Somehow, Carroll miraculously survives, but is mortally wounded and horribly disfigured. Completely consumed by guilt, Alyce descends in to a nightmare of drugs, alcohol and, as she slowly loses her faculties, eventually murder.

Alyce is a rather good 90 minute watch about someone's descent in to madness, and though it isn't the first time we've seen this type of film, it's done well here and, among other things, might well be making some sort of comment about the hazards of being enamoured by violence. Though obviously a low budget flick, writer/director Jay Lee (it's hard to believe this was the guy behind Zombie Strippers!) has made a nice looking film with some often pretty fine scripting.

Whilst sounding grim and devoid of humour on the surface, Alyce is often blackly funny with some terrific one-liners and even a couple of well penned monologues. That said, it is also sometimes rather poignant, especially in its depiction of the title character, wonderfully played by Jade Dornfield. She's excellent, displaying great range as she moves from child-like innocence and vulnerability, to funny, to sexy, and ultimately troubled and psychotic. It's a tall order and Dornfield is more than up to the task. Supporting performances are also good, especially that of familiar character actor, Eddie Rouse, as Ray the drug dealer. The film is also very nicely shot, though I'd imagine some would find it a little too arty in style. Special mention must be made to the superb make-up effects, which are highly realistic and particularly gruesome. Alyce is a very graphic and brutal movie at times, and along with its many 'difficult' scenes, quite deserved of its 'R' rating here in Australia.

Though not without flaws, and admittedly some audiences might find the tone unfocused, as well as perhaps having nothing to say (though this reviewer believes to the contrary), Alyce is a little different from your average horror film, and in this day of remakes and lightweights, that alone makes it worthy of your time.
Given the film's low budget, this Accent release looks nice, with a fairly sharp and clear image that's often quite detailed, especially in close-up shots. The overall palette of this film is quite dark, but colours, especially the reds of blood, look great.
We only get a 2.0 surround track here and though it works, it really could have done with something better. The soundtrack is interesting and quite eerie, and would have benefitted greatly from a 5.1 mix.
Extra Features
An absolute swag of trailers for other Accent titles, many of which are great, but not a thing relating to the film. As far as I can make out, nothing in the way of a commentary or featurette has ever been produced for this film. The R2 UK release is pretty much identical.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
If you like something to think about with your blood and gore, then this strange little indie flick might just do the job. Anchored by a terrific lead performance, it still won't be for everyone and some may find it all too tedious, but if you're after a different kind of horror film, then spend some time with Alyce.

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