Alice Sweet Alice (1976)

alice sweet alice

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 6 out of 10

4-Word Review: Murder in the church.

Surprisingly elaborate thriller detailing murders that happen in and around a Catholic church. It focuses specifically on a family whose one daughter Karen (Brooke Shields) is a victim and the other daughter Alice (Paula E. Sheppard) may have been the killer.

This is a well-crafted thriller and much more than just a chance to see a young Brooke Shields. The set design is meticulous with a unique look and sound that is different from just about any other horror film. There are even a few moments of truly creepy imagery. The twisting plot and suspense should be enough to get you caught up in it and keep you guessing.

This is also a multilayered film with a twisted look at the family unit, the 50’s era, and most importantly the Catholic Church. It paints a rather sinister portrait of the church and some of those who attend it while emphasizing the evilness that can unravel behind even the most pristine of pictures. It is harsh, but also revealing and at times even funny.

Sheppard is chilling as the evil sister and makes Patty McCormack from The Bad Seed look like a powder-puff-girl. Her unique eyes grab your attention and help accentuate her character and are able to convey both beauty and mischief at the same time. She falls into her difficult role effortlessly and it’s easy to see why she has gained such a wide cult following even though, to date, she has only done one other movie.

paula 2

Brooke of course was re-billed as the star when her fame shot up afterwards. Yet she doesn’t last past the first half-hour and her presence is really not all that significant.

The film’s first third is gripping, intriguing, and even surprising. The final thirty minutes though is a letdown and pretty much ruins the film as a whole. It gives away its final twist too early and then drags along until it culminates with a rather far-fetched climax. It also leaves open a few loopholes and no real closure.

My Rating: 6 out of 10

Alternate Title: Communion

Released: November 13, 1976

Runtime: 1Hour 38Minutes

Rated R

Director: Alfred Sole

Studio: Allied Artists Pictures

Available: VHS, DVD, Amazon Instant Video

One response to “Alice Sweet Alice (1976)

  1. Pingback: Liquid Sky (1983) | Scopophilia

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