Alice, Sweet Alice (1976)

DVD Cover (Hen's Tooth Video)
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Overall Rating 65%
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Ranked #3,546
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Alice Spages is a withdrawn 12 year old girl who lives with her mother, Catherine, and her younger sister, Karen. Karen gets most of the attention from her mother, and Alice is often left out of the spotlight. But when Karen is found brutally murdered in a church before her first holy communion, all suspicions are turned towards Alice. But is a twelve year old girl really capable of such savagery? As more people begin to die at the hands of a merciless killer, Alice's family and the police don't know what to believe. --IMDb
Linda Miller
Linda Miller
Mildred Clinton
Mildred Clinton
Paula E. Sheppard
Paula E. Sheppard
Niles McMaster
Niles McMaster
Jane Lowry
Jane Lowry
Review by Chad
Added: May 29, 2007
Another day, another remake announcement. This one was actually announced last month, but at the time, the DVD was out of print and fetching a fairly high price on eBay... but wouldn't you know it, someone came along and gave it a decent release just a few weeks after the remake announcement to (assumedly) cash in on people like myself. Isn't the movie business awesome like that?

The film centers around two young girls - Alice (Paula Sheppard) and Karen (Brooke Shields) - and the sibling rivalry that seemingly leads to murder. Yes, young Karen winds up dead while attending church one day, and all of the clues point to Alice being the one responsible for the murder. As the police are investigating and as the clues pile up against her, more people wind up either dead or severely injured courtesy of what would appear to be a little girl in a rain jacket and a mask. Alice claims that Karen isn't really dead and is the one responsible for these attacks, but how can her parents believe that when they personally saw their little girl buried? With a little help from the local preacher (Rudolph Willrich), the parents - Catherine (Linda Miller) and Dominick (Niles McMaster) - attempt to get to the bottom of this mystery and find out whether or not their daughter is a deranged serial killer.

After watching this, I really have to wonder why director Alfred Sole didn't go on to become a major name in the horror business or the movie business in general. In Alice, Sweet Alice, the man has created a film that is downright excellent - the cinematography, the inventive camera shots and angles, the storyline, and the pacing are all perfect save for one minor detail (more on that in a moment). When you consider that this was his debut film outside of porn, I truly don't understand why the man never got a second chance with a decent script.

As is usually the case with these types of horror films, the true culprit remains a mystery until the very end and there are plenty of red herrings thrown in along the way to keep viewers guessing. The high point of this is the fact that it's all done in a highly believable fashion; until their names are checked off of the proverbial list, it's easy to believe that each and every last one of the suspects could be the one responsible.

My only complaint about the film is a very subjective one and may not be shared by all viewers. You see, there are plenty of clues that leads one to believe that Alice is the one responsible, but there are also clues that present this person, that person, and the other person as being the murderer. This is to be expected; after all, it wouldn't be a very effective mystery if the killer was blatantly obvious from scene one. However, my gripe came to fruition when the true killer was finally revealed, as some of the minor clues that were presented simply didn't line up with his or her identity. There were no major flaws in the script, mind you, but there were a few subtle things that I believe were either overlooked by the filmmakers or that we were supposed to forget as the movie progressed. Depending on how you interpret these clues, it could be said that they did make sense; however, in my humble opinion, they simply didn't add up.

Again, this was a minor thing, as with a different camera angle here and a small tweak to the script there, everything would have lined up perfectly when all was said and done. However, I must say that this did not detract from my overall enjoyment of the film in the least. Alice, Sweet Alice is a damned effective horror film with plenty of memorable scenes, a haunting score, excellent performances from the cast, and a script that will keep you hooked until the very end. For that, I have to go with a 9/10.
bluemeanie #1: bluemeanie - added 05/29/2007, 10:11 AM
This is a fantastic fucking horror film -- good scares and a wicked premise. A remake doesn't excite me, but capable hands could produce something pretty decent, once modernized. I love the original though. 9/10.
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