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Short on budget, but long on style and quirk, writer/director/actor Park Bench’s literally biting Canadian horror/satire THE DEATH OF ALICE BLUE (opening for a limited theatrical run today in Toronto, followed by an expansion across Canada) is a real find. It’s an arch, theatrical, funny and absolutely stunning-looking film, riding genres with gleeful abandon, playing with conventions and admirably cheating its limitations. And man, does it have a great central character…
The awkwardly gorgeous and charmingly named Alex Appel stars as a shy, uptight office girl named Alice, who gets a job working at a slick, glossy company that is more than a little sinister. Tormented by her blonde, pinched co-workers and yet oddly championed by her superiors, Alice spends her time battling rats in the walls and her own overbearing, slightly nuts mother, keeping her chin up and meekly navigating the cruel world around her. As she is systematically wooed and manipulated and plied with alcohol on the night shift by her dapper, mysterious boss, Alice begins slowly, surely changing, developing an edge and as she gains more confidence—as well as what appear to be superhuman powers.
As it turns out, her office is actually run by a literal pack of corporate vampires, bent on turning this girl Friday into a lethal, sexually voracious bloodsucker. And as she slips further down the supernatural wormhole, Alice also learns a little bit about her own shadowy lineage.
Equal parts TRUE BLOOD, THE OFFICE and Dario Argento designer horror show (the shot-on-film, edited-on-HD imagery is so color-saturated, the movie feels like a living, breathing comic book), THE DEATH OF ALICE BLUE would make a fascinating triple bill with Marry Harron’s still-thrilling AMERICAN PSYCHO (Bench actually had a small role in that film) and the Nicolas Cage vehicle VAMPIRE’S KISS. It has its share of flaws (some of the performances are weak, some of the satire is forced), but is nevertheless an incredible effort given its resources, and Appel’s turn as Alice should—in a perfect world—make her an instant femme fatale icon.
Watch out for this flick…it’s a good one. Visit www.alicebluethemovie.com for more information about ALICE BLUE’s screening schedule.
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