Alphabet Killer" DVD
Alphabet Killer" DVD cover
Let me preface this
week's remarks by saying that I never thought Rob Schmidt could
do a creepy atmospheric thriller. And this week, in a rare twist,
I'm actually glad to be disappointed.
My disappointment this
week comes in the form of The Alphabet Killer, yet another winner
from the good folks at Anchor Bay. It features a detective named
Megan in pursuit of the based-on-a-true-story version of the actually
rather recent Alphabet Killer, an actual serial killer who has
not yet been found. How recent, you ask? Simple--the ending will
detail an element of the case that occured in 2006.
Anyway, his modus operandi
involves finding girls with matching initials--for instance, Sara
Schmidt, who doesn't actually appear in the movie but you get
the idea--and taking them somewhere that has the same initial--for
instance, Smithville--to kill them.
Basically, if you're
under the age of twelve, your name is Barbie Brandt, and you live
about five minutes away from Birchtown, then you're probably going
to want to discover the simple virtues of hiding under your bed.
With a shotgun.
See, after the sludgy
hackneyed mess of a potboiler that was Wrong Turn, and Schmidt's
sad foray into the Masters of Horror series, I was pretty convinced
that Schmidt was little more than a hack. And when I saw that
Eliza Dushku was going to appear in this, the cynic in me burst
forth with a chorus of "Reunited for tha holidaysh, Gawd
blessh ush every waaaaaan!" just like in South Park's "Christmastime
In Hell" song. That and, worse yet, you can tell from the
box art and the title menu screen there will be lots of dead chicks
in freaky makeup walking around, so you knew that Dushku was going
to be riffing on Tru Calling like no freaking tomorrow. Doubly
worse is that she's listed as a producer.
Okay, yes...The Alphabet
Killer had all the makings of a bomb so big it'd make the Manhattan
Project look like maladjusted youth playing with firecrackers,
but amazingly enough, it did not go off. No, quite the contrary.
What instead came about was a surprisingly entertaining crime
drama with just the teensiest pinch of horror to keep things on
edge. In fact, you can't really call The Alphabet Killer horror--it's
definitely a thriller, and much more crime drama than anything
else--but calling it a horror movie for the appearance of a couple
ghosts is a serious misapplication of terms.
Watching Schmidt strike
off in this relatively new (for him) direction (no pun intended)
is a surprisingly fresh approach that leaves me with a pleased
sort of surprise, like unwrapping presents on Christmas morning
I'm truly rather impressed,
and chances are, if you've got any kind of love for the crime
drama, you will too.
The ending is actually
very well done, and while it doesn't tie up all the loose ends
(it really can't, seeing as how the killer has never actually
been caught), it does provide a lovely jumping-off point for any
The special features
include audio commentary tracks, a making-of featurette, alternate
scenes, audio options, English subtitles, and at the beginning
there'll be a trailer for Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer.
All in all, Schmidt...holy
Schmidt! (pun intended)...you've been holding out on us! Instead
of formulaic horror potboilers how about stepping up the crime
drama front a little more often?
Directed by Rob Schmidt
Written by Tom Malloy
Starring Eliza Dushku, Cary Elwes, Michael Ironside, Timothy Hutton
Produced by Tom Malloy, Aimee Schoof, Isen Robbins, Ross Ferlecki98
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