The Alphabet Killer (2008)

Genre(s): Crime / Drama / Thriller
Anchor Bay || R - 98 minutes - $26.97 || January 6, 2009
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2009-02-18


Buy this DVD from Amazon.com!
.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Rob Schmidt
Writer(s): Tom Malloy (written by)
Cast: Eliza Dushku, Cary Elwes, Tom Malloy, Michael Ironside, Bill Moseley, Timothy Hutton


Theatrical Release Date: November 7, 2008


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • 2 Feature Commentaries
  • Featurette
  • Alternate Scene


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English SDH

Comment on this and other movies on the message board!


.::THE FILM::.

The Alphabet Killer stars Eliza Dushku (TV’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Dollhouse”) Megan Paige a Rochester detective who becomes obsessed with a serial killer who is seemingly hunting down kids with “double initials” (i.e. “M.M.”). During this time, she has a mental breakdown, starts hallucinating and when she can’t catch the killer, decides to try and kill herself. Sometime later, her ex-boyfriend (Elwes), now Police Chief, gets her a desk job but when the killings resume, now two years later, Paige asks to be put back on the case, in a contributing capacity rather than lead investigator. She does fine for a bit but then the hallucinations start up and those who were killed begin to haunt her once again.

I love Eliza Dushku; she’s a fine actress and a beautiful woman but utterly wrong for this part. Although it doesn’t help matters the script doesn’t exactly give her much to worth with, I never felt she was right as a police detective. I’m not sure if it’s because she lacks the emotional depth in a movie about a serial child killer but during the 90-minutes of screen time, I never once believed her. Perhaps it’s the medium; performances on television are completely different than a performance for feature films.

I guess the only saving grace is the performances from the supporting cast. Cary Elwes is, well, Cary Elwes, nothing you haven’t seen before, but his contribution to the movie was a nice offset to Dushku. Add in the invaluable Michael Ironside and Oscar-winner Timothy Hutton, and you have – at best – an acceptable movie.

The Alphabet Killer was directed by Rob Schmidt, the man behind 2003’s backwoods horror flick Wrong Turn also starring Eliza Dushku. I guess when the material doesn’t measure up and your lead actress gives a less than memorable performance; I’m not sure how much blame I can place on the director. Of course, it is the director’s job to get the most out of his/her actors. Schmidt’s style, however, is pretty standard for this genre. It’s dark, gloomy and offers little tension.

The movie was written by Tom Malloy who also has a small-ish role as a police officer. I actually felt the script had opportunity to make the movie something better, even for a “Based on a True Story” and cliché direction, if only the casting were better.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

The DVD has two feature commentaries (1. Director Rob Schmidt and Producer Isen Robbins, 2. Writer/Producer/Actor Tom Malloy); A to Z: The Making of The Alphabet Killer (6:05), a montage of behind-the-scenes footage and an Alternate Scene (3:00).



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Presented in anamorphic widescreen with a 2.35 aspect ratio, The Alphabet Killer looks alright but at least it wasn’t cheap looking, probably one of the better looking direct-to-DVD flicks I’ve seen recently. Colors are fairly muted as the director tries to create some sort of atmosphere that a serial child killer demands. The DVD offers a standard Dolby Digital 5.1 track that is serviceable. Dialogue is clear and I do recall some ambient noise coming from the front speakers but the rear speakers don’t get much use.



.::OVERALL::.

The Alphabet Killer is in an interesting but poorly executed psychological crime drama. Eliza Dushku is a fine woman and a good actress, however when she gets a subpar script and just an all-around subpar movie, she cannot carry a movie on her shoulders.