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The Haunting of Alice D (2014)
DVD Released: 5/3/2016
All Ratings out of
Extras: No Extras
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 4/12/2016
In my recent review forMiracle Beach, I wrote about how modern HD equipment has allowed many aspiring filmmakers to pick up a camera and give it a go. Something which was not mentioned is how the advances in this technology has improved the quality of these home-grown productions. Plenty of people tried using camcorders in the 80s to make feature-length films, but the results always looked like exactly what they were -- shot on video productions. These movies often featured issues with any light source and colors which weren't true. Most of today's HD productions have a genuine "film look" to them. Notice that I said "most". The Haunting of Alice D proves that it's still possible to make a bad looking movie.
The Haunting of Alice D opens in 1898, where we see brothel owner Sr. Davenport (Kane Hodder) abusing his prostitutes, and threatening a women and her much younger sister. The movie then leaps ahead to present day, where Joe (Juan Riedinger) has decided to throw a party for his friends in his family mansion...which just happens to be the brothel from the opening scene. Michael (Aaron Massey) and Zeke (Josh Hammond), as well as Adam (Michael Reed), and his girlfriend, Krista (Eliza Swenson) all arrive for the party, as do Jenny (Megan Hensley), Natasha (Jessica Sonneborn), and Anita (Julianne Tura), all of whom are exotic dancers hired by Joe. Soon, everyone is drinking and exploring the house, as Jenny begins to re-think her decision to attend the event.
Does it seem as if that synopsis abruptly ended? If so, that's because I ran out of things to say about the story in The Haunting of Alice D. The group comes to the house, they walk around, they sort of have sex, and that's about it. "What about the 'haunting' part?", you may ask. Well, a figure appears in some mirrors and some hands come out from under a bed, and that's about it. About 77 minutes of this 79 minute movie are made up of moments where absolutely nothing happens. In other words, The Haunting of Alice D barely qualifies as a movie, much less a horror movie. There is one jump scare and that is literally about it.
So, we are left with these characters and something which is supposed to be a story. If that doesn't sound appealing, just wait until you meet these people. The Haunting of Alice D is yet another horror movie which is littered with unlikable people. Joe is some kind of gangster wannabe, Adam is a drug addict, Zeke is an idiot and most of the women are interchangeable. We are supposed to like Michael and Jenny, as they sit in a room and have a heart-to-heart talk, but their interactions certainly aren't interesting or entertaining. We are fed the backstory of the house and it's implied that Joe is a scumbag, just like his great-grandfather, but no other real details are given.
There are no extra features on The Haunting of Alice D DVD, so we are left to assume how this project came together. My guess is that Writer/Director Jessica Sonneborn somehow got access to the house featured in the movie and decided that she could create a feature film by shooting it on...her cell phone? I don't know that for a fact, but that's what it looks like. It's been decades since I've seen a movie have the kind of "white out" effects evident here where any light source will create blooming in the image. One character is wearing a plaid shirt and that creates all kinds of echoes on the image. This only compounds the overall cheap feeling of the movie. When we first encounter Joe and his friends, they are at a strip club...which is clearly just one of the rooms in the house. It's pretty obvious that the entire movie was shot in this one location. I guess that we can applaud Sonneborn for having the decency to go topless just like the other actresses.
When you watch most movies, no matter how bad they are, you can tell what the film's goal was meant to be. I have no idea what The Haunting of Alice D was going for. It's not enough of a horror movie to be effective, there's not enough T&A to satisfy those seeking it, and the "drama" is dull. As acid is mentioned at one point, I thought that maybe "Alice D" was meant to be "LSD", but that never happens. In fact, the title itself is woefully inaccurate, as Alice is the haunter, not the hauntee! When even the title is wrong, you know that you are in trouble.
The Haunting of Alice D does very little on DVD courtesy of RLJ Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. As noted above, there are several issues with the visual quality here. The image lacks in detail and any light source creates lens flare and blooming on the image which renders everything around it blurry and difficult to see. The colors are muted and some shots are too dark. There is video noise and pixellation on the image at times. The DVD carries a Dolby Digital 5.1 track which provides clear dialogue and sound effects. I noted some mild stereo effects here and one subwoofer effect during the one jump scare, but otherwise the track is pretty bland, as most of the audio comes from the center channel.
The Haunting of Alice D DVD contains no extra features.
Review Copyright 2016 by Mike Long