The Haunting of Alice D (2014)
Director: Jessica Sonneborn
Starring: Juan Reidinger, Aaron Massey, Megan Hensley, Kristina Page, Jessica Sonneborn, Kane Hodder
On VOD now!!
“Not here, I want a nicer room.”
Joe Davenport (Reidinger) gathers his high school friends for a party at the old family manor, a restored brothel that’s been in the family since the days of Sir Davenport ( played in flashbacks by Kane Hodder), a ruthless pimp who drove one of his girls to suicide. The prostitute Alice D. now haunts the old brothel where she took her life. Party boy Joe hires a trio of prostitutes for the evening’s entertainment in his old family den of iniquity. As the party heats up so too does the ghostly happenings.
The Haunting of Alice D is a mixed bag. The acting is rough. Watching awkward conversations poorly acted is about seventy percent of the film. The sexism and misogyny is laid on pretty thick as well, making some scenes almost unbearable when coupled with the poor delivery. There is a decent thirty percent of pretty tolerable acting rounding it out.
But the haunting part is actually pretty cool. I’ll admit the movie even made me jump three times. Yes that’s an exact number. All three were jump scares, but very good ones and not cheesy fake-outs. So, if you can somehow settle in, and NOT turn Alice off in the first twenty minutes it turns into a pretty good haunted house movie with a nice array practical effects. Director Sonneborn uses some nice shadow work, moving objects, and an increasing sense of dread and violence. If only better actors had been cast this would have been a great ghost story. Unfortunately some of the acting drags it down.
A few other problems were the sound, and setting. The back ground noise and music drowns out the dialogue a lot of the time, which with this calibre of acting is a mixed blessing. And the setting, well, there were hypothetically two. The movie opens in a strip club that looked like the set of a Rococo period piece complete with fancy wallpaper, full daylight, and a couch. Then the film detours for one scene with unimportant characters in their crummy one room apartment before shifting to the Davenport Manor. Which, kudos, was pretty damn fine. I don’t know where this house was but it was impressive. As many of the characters themselves comment upon before giving info-dumps about the history of the Davenport brothel and the sad tale of Alice D. Also included are several flashbacks to the 1890s which do a creditable job of building character and don’t look half bad.
Now, the lighting… The lighting was bright. Really bright in a lot of the film, as if a floodlight were the lighting rig of choice. It’s certainly not the usual horror movie murk. And Sonneborn never met a lens flare she didn’t like. But somehow it works MOST of the time. That’s a pretty hefty most, because when the lighting isn’t working it sticks out painfully.
The ending is confused and two characters the audience has forgotten about by then show up to confuse things further. But there is a hint of an alternate ending, at least that’s what I got out of it. Sadly my theory can’t be discussed without spoilers.
Alice D somehow manages what most poorly acted ghost stories don’t, and that’s to be just the tiniest bit scary and relatively enjoyable. Though take that with a grain of salt. This movie won’t be for everyone, but haunted house aficionados might want to give it a try. If nothing else you can make fun of the acting.
Kudos for: Worst strip club ever
Lesson Learned: NOTHING good ever came from under the bed