Alice is asked to test the faithfulness of a co-workers boyfriend. What her co-worker doesn’t know is that Alice is very, very mentally unbalanced.
Nobody Loves Alice is the latest addition to the torture porn genre and owes a lot to better films such as Audition and, in many ways, Misery.
Abigail is engaged to Alex, who is completely in love with her. Abigail decides to test his loyalty and chooses a very, quiet subdued co-worker named Alice to run the experiment. What they don’t know is Alice is not just a quiet, meek girl but actually has a guy tied to a bed in her apartment at that time. This man, her self-professed “boyfriend” is covered with cuts and sores all over his body and a nasty iron burn on his chest. Alice meets Alex and decides she likes him and doesn’t want to let him go. After “eliminating” her current boyfriend, she takes Alex back to her place and he becomes her next victim. She quickly ties him up and tortures him, including a gruesome scene which you might recognize from the novel Misery, but was excised from the filmed adaptation.
The acting is decent on some levels. Nitzan Mager works well as Alice, the quiet, shy girl who has a streak of meanness no one ever saw coming. This makes the movie even scarier, seeing a person you might pass everyday in the hall that is so sadistic and capable of such horror. Phillip Ward is also quite good as Alex, as are most of the guys in the film. The weakness is the actresses, outside of Mager. They are all unrealistic in their portrayals and neither the characters of Abigail or Megan work at all.
The film’s style is reminiscent of just about any cheap arty horror film on the market. The intrusive music, strange camera angles and washed out digital look reminds me of independent horror productions by Wicked Pixel Cinema. That is not really a compliment. There is competent, and promising, camera work in areas. Most the scenes surrounding the male characters are shot in a straightforward way that looks really good. The stuff with the girls was shot with the aforementioned washed out effect surrounded by bad camera angles all around.
I was impressed with the flashbacks of Alice as a child. The young girl playing Alice (Jessie Cobb) was very good, better than some of the adults in the picture. However, much of the first half of the movie was character development and some of the scenes just kind of dragged on. When the second half kicked in and the horror started to spiral out of control, I was about ready to shut it out. I kind of wish I did. In the day where torture porn dominates much of the genre, I think back to the days of horror films of old – a day when blood and gore wasn’t the only requisite of the genre.
That is not to say there is nothing under the surface of Nobody Loves Alice. Alice is a very troubled girl, with issues of childhood trauma and an imagination that has been built from so many nights alone. The torture and pain she inflicts on Alex, who deserves none of it and has done nothing wrong, is all because of her deranged mind. It makes it even more horrific to know this is happening to someone you have grown to like. The fact she is played with such clumsy, shyness by Nitzan Mager makes you almost feel sorry for her until she inflicts even more damage to her victim.
The end is gruesome and very hard to watch. Yet even when we have watched everything she has done, the director ends with a flashback to remind us that she was once just an abused little girl. The movie is well constructed, but at the end of the day it is still an independent torture porn flick with below average production values and uneven acting. I would be interested to see where this director goes from here as he showed touches of promise. As it is, I would only recommend it to fans of the genre who want to see something a little different by some lesser known filmmakers.
Nobody Loves Alice Featurette (01:13) – This is clearly mislabeled. It’s a trailer, not a featurette.
Somebody Loves Alice (12:39) – Holy crap. How young is Roger A. Scheck? His MySpace page lists him at 27, but he doesn’t look a day over 17 in this featurette. The feature is pretty much narrated by Scheck as he leads us through clips and various interviews with others.