Wednesday, April 08, 2009

THE ALPHABET KILLER (2008)



reviewed by Kris Gilpin

Six years ago Rob Schmidt directed Eliza Dushku in WRONG TURN, a good throwback to the no-nonsense, wisecracks-free 80's horrorshows (all I remember of the sequel, WRONG MOVE 2, is the great gore). Now they both return with THE ALPHABET KILLER, which had a limited run last year before now going to DeeV.

Based on a true story, the stunning Dushku (who also co-executive produced) plays a police detective obsessed with finding a serial killer whose young female victims have the same first and last initials, and are from a likewise city (example: Kris Kringle, killed in Kokomo). The victims also have white cat hair on their clothing. Eventually Ellie starts to see the dead victims, as they call out her name, begging her to solve their murders. This makes her even crazier.

The low-budget film is packed with familiar faces: Timothy Hutton, Michael Ironside (who is always a great prick), Cary Elwes, Tom Noonan, Carl Lumbly, a scrubbed-clean Bill Moseley, Larry Hankin, and even the recently Oscar nominated Melissa Leo, who was just up for a Best Actress award for FROZEN RIVER. Martin Donovan, who used to have great parts in early Hal Hartley films like TRUST and SIMPLE MEN, has a good cameo as the grieving father of one of the vics.

Dushku is too young to be convincing as a police woman -- she's so beautiful, who cares? -- but as she starts to lose it, her hands shake and her neck and face are a mass of tics, and she's effective as a woman losing her mind to mental obsession. She does "going crazy" well.

There's one good scene involving a surprising shooting, but even though this was based on a real-life, still-unsolved case, the film is simply not exciting or involving. And the identity of the killer here is another case of what's-this-name-actor-doing-in-such-a-meaningless-minor-part?--oh, right, unless he's the killer...

The ending is a bit different and interesting, but unless you're obsessed with Eliza's face or a hardcore serial killer-movie fan, THE ALPHABET KILLER is really just a forgettable rental.

2 comments:

Scooter Gingold said...

I'm disappointed that Mr. Marty McKee, the leading advocate for gratuitous young starlet tit-shots in modern cinema, has not yet stepped forward to discuss the exposure of Ms. Dushku's magnificent mams.

BITTERLY DISAPPOINTED, I tell you.

K.G. said...

hey Scooter--Boy, but do I agree!! :-(