IN A NUTSHELL:
This Southern thriller feature is a debut both written and directed by Ryan Bliss and produced by 1091 Pictures. I really wanted the movie to be good because I always want first-time directors to have success. I believe we need lots of different voices "out there", showing us their new perspective. Unfortunately, it's not a great film, but it has some interesting moments.
The narrator at the beginning of the movie is a young boy who talks about a young mother on the run. It takes place in New England in the 1950s on a farm where traumatized residents from World War II now live.
In a press release sent to me by 1091 Pictures, the director explained, "Alice Fades Away" is a progressive take on a classic tale. It is about patriarchy, legacy, and death, but more importantly, it's about perseverance and strength in the face of fear and power by someone who's not allowed to have her own identity."
THINGS I LIKED:
The young mother is played by Ashley Shelton (Something, Anything). Her character is described as having empty eyes like she doesn't have a soul. Mission accomplished. I don't know if Ashley's portrayal of this shell of a woman was intentionally robotic or not, but there's absolutely no passion or energy when she's on screen.
The cast also includes William Sadler from Bill & Ted Face the Music, Paxton Singleton (The Haunting of Hill House), and Blanche Baker (Sixteen Candles).
I thought it was interesting to include all-white set pieces as a background to a certain character in some of the scenes.
It's an effective illustration of how someone can lose their voice.
THINGS I DIDN'T LIKE:
The title makes you believe that Alice slowly faces away, but she seemed gone from the very beginning of the movie.
The timeline is fairly confusing, while the actual plot is very straightforward.
There were quite a few bad acting moments.
There were also quite a few bad singing moments.
Some scenes last way too long, which is a shame because the length of the movie is really short and so wasted time is frustrating to the viewer because they don't advance the plot.
The film utilizes intertitles that are completely unnecessary and don't provide anything new to the telling of the story.
Some of the actors look like they're acting. I felt like I was watching a movie, rather than being completely immersed in a story.
For some reason, the director thought snot running down the actors' noses meant they were really showing emotion in some of the scenes.
The set pieces look like set pieces. The costumes look like costumes. The old 1940s cars are supposed to transport us back in time but, instead, look like restored cars someone let them use for the movie.
There are some things that are just not explained at all in the story and don't make sense or have any resolution.
The time period is after World War II, but the story doesn't really spend much time exploring the survivors' experiences. That could have been interesting. We see them wandering around the house, but because we don't get to know them, we don't feel much about what happens to them. The body count just feels like bodies, rather than people we have had time to get to know.
No humor. All drama and horror.
TIPS FOR PARENTS:
Bloody images of people & animals
You see a close-up of a man stitching up a wound
Physical and emotional abuse portrayed
Identity, losing your voice
Choices and consequences
"Some people just aren't meant to be parents." - Dana (Emily Eckes)
"That scares me more than anything else now." - James (William Sadler) "What?" - Alice (Ashley Shelton) "The silence." - James (William Sadler)
"I don't know if I'm sane anymore. I don't know if anyone can know that." - Alice (Ashley Shelton)
"Something that ugly doesn't deserve to be in this world." - Alice (Ashley Shelton)
"Wishes do come true because I wished for you, and you came." - Alice (Ashley Shelton)
You can see my full review on my Movie Review Mom YouTube channel!