Alyce (2011)

She way always a little weird... now she's truly insane.
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Alyce - She way always a little weird... now she's truly insane.

The impact of Lewis Carroll's (less commonly known as Charles Lutwidge Dodgson's) "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" on modern entertainment is undeniable. Writer and director Jay Lee dips into this literary phenomenon with Alyce (also known as Alyce Kills). The film deals with the mental degeneration of Alyce as she escapes her directionless life and takes control in a very unconventional manner. From the offset the audience is led to suspect that Alyce has stability issues and these issues become more apparent as she loses her rationality. Her sanity is pushed over the edge on a rooftop when her best friend gets pushed over the edge of a rooftop.

The references to Alice in Wonderland are mostly subtle but plentiful. The obvious reference is the Jefferson Airplane song, which is as subtle as a kick to the scrotum, but from there on in Wonderland is not squished in the audience's crotch and is more of a challenge to spot. The bartender making the alcohol saying "drink me", red velvet cake, the porcelain white rabbit, the key around her neck and rabbit holes cropping up in conversation. Alyce's best friend is called Carroll Lewis but even this requires the skills of Poirot to notice within the details. Literary references aside, the story has very little to do with Alice in Wonderland beyond Alyce's new found drug fuelled life leading her to some ultimately crazy situations.

The film is about losing control disguised as taking control in a similar manner to Fight Club with undertones of May (even Bret Roberts makes an appearance disguised as a Bee Gee). The movie moves quite fast with regards to the crumbling of Alyce but leaves the horror for the last fifteen minutes. Certain scenes seem a little disjointed, for a few minutes the film digresses and looks like we are soon to witness a J-Horror inspired supernatural horror but luckily this is short lived without a reappearance. It adds to the notion of Alyce cracking and reinforces the control/lack of control theme but still seems a bit out of place. In another scene the drug dealer Rex (Eddie Rouse) goes into a diatribe about criminality worthy of a Tarantino script, it is a good scene once again, highlighting lack of control is what is considered normality but the point could have been gotten across much more succinctly without the digression.

Alyce (Jade Dornfield) is a 9-5er in an average job that she hates to almost pay her rent. She struggles to fit in and seems satisfied to live her life going nowhere because that is what society encourages. Her best friend, Carroll (Tamara Feldman), is a bit more outgoing and decides to take Alyce out for a night of drugs, alcohol and lesbian temptation. A little horseplay with bats on a rooftop leads to tragedy as Carroll falls and smashes herself up pretty good. Alyce feels responsible and retreats into feigned ignorance.

Destroyed by the loss of her bestest, closest and only friend and racked with guilt, Alyce turns to drugs to forget. This just increases the instability in her life and mind until she reaches her lowest point and decides to make a difference. The new and improved Alyce decides to tie up loose ends and defeat the shallow people that contribute to her unsatisfactory life based on the lesson she learned while being depressed and out of her face on various awesome drugs.

The pace of the movie is all over the place and different subgenres are touched upon more than choirboys. As the story progresses it occasionally gets a slightly disconnected feel. Having said that the scenes are relevant to the overall theme and when the blood does start to flow it has been built up sufficiently to warrant some excessive gore. Alyce will draw you into the character of Alyce and will make you hope for the death of the extraneous characters despite their shininess.
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