Wednesday, August 13, 2008

NOBODY LOVES ALICE (2007) d. Roger A. Scheck

Reviewed by Simon Oakland

I have no love for the "torture porn" genre, but obviously many, many other people do. Otherwise, films like SAW or HOSTEL would never have struck enough box office gold to inspire so many lesser knockoffs such as CAPTIVITY or CARVER. Judging from the cover, with it's "unrated" status proudly and prominently stamped upon it and featuring a naked man bound and gagged with duct tape, the "torture porn" crowd is precisely who they're attempting to market NOBODY LOVES ALICE to.

Big Mistake.

First off, calling the film "unrated" is completely misleading and disengenuous. It concocts images in your mind of a balls to the wall, blood and guts torturethon, but all it really means is that the movie is so low budget (and since the plan was always to release it "direct to video" anyways) the filmmakers had simply never bothered to submit it for a rating to begin with. Despite the premise of a crazy woman kidnapping a co-worker's fiance, taking him as her own fiance, and then torturing and amputating him when he attempts to escape, there is almost no on-screen violence... ever. Sure, there's plenty of blood, but all of it is used as set dressing on walls, beds, curtains, etc. If anybody gets a leg sawn off, or mutilated, stabbed, or whatever, it's off camera. Don't get me wrong: I'm an old school kind of guy. I don't need to see any of the visceral stuff to appreciate a good horror movie. Not every film needs to be directed by a prodigy of Fulci or Argento. It's just that the market they're aiming for will never appreciate what NOBODY LOVE ALICE is and will only find the experience boring.

How would I have sold it? Honestly, I haven't the foggiest idea but thankfully that isn't my job. I will, however, say that regardless of how botched I think the promotion of NOBODY LOVES ALICE was, it is a well made independent feature that is well shot and acted. The cast and crew should be very proud of their accomplishments in spite of an obviously limited budget. Go in with lowered expectations, ignore the cover, and you just may walk away pleasantly surprised.

The lone extra on the disc, "Somebody Loves Alice" is a short featurette detailing the production history of NOBODY LOVE ALICE and very informative of the movie's origins. The director, Roger A. Scheck, relates how he was inspired partly by a real life event and partly by modern Asian horror. He doesn't name any films specifically, but I can only guess that Takashi Miike's AUDITION was a primary influence. However, I can't help but feel that Stephen King's MISERY was a more obvious one.

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