Alice Sweet Alice

1976 | dir: Alfred Sole | 98 m

The stars were aligned for me to watch this movie: it was discussed in some detail on The Evolution of Horror podcast that I've been getting into, and released by Arrow recently on bluray: the timing was too good to pass up so I indulged in this murder mystery film.

Alice is a withdrawn 12-year-old who lives with her mother and her younger sister, Karen, who gets most of the attention from her mother, leaving Alice out of the spotlight. But when Karen is found brutally murdered in a church, suspicions start to turn toward Alice. But could a 12-year-old girl really be capable of such savagery?

Well, that about sets the stage properly for the film, doesn't it? But it doesn't prepare you for the true horror of this movie: the disgusting adults. It almost bears a disclaimer that the actress playing young Alice was nineteen at the time of filming, although that doesn't make things much easier to watch. You'll be uncomfortable as characters make incredibly bad comments about Alice's body, to a point wherein it seems the filmmakers are intent on giving you sympathy for the girl while at the same time having her serve as the primary suspect of the brutal murder of her sister and some other violent attacks on others. Things felt a bit off for me throughout the film, and I found it difficult to invest myself fully as the film explores themes of religion, innocence and guilt around a decidedly scary and distinctive looking murderer in a bright yellow raincoat. It most certainly holds more to appreciate, as I read other, smarter reviews of the film, but I would be hard-pressed to revisit the film again without a purpose.

Rating: 3.5 / 5  | IMDB | Letterboxd

Tags: horror, thriller, mystery