Thursday, July 31, 2014

Alpha Girls (2013) - Review

Alpha Girls (2013) **1/2
D: Tony Trov, Johnny Zito
C: Beverly Rivera, Falon Joslyn, Nicole Cinaglia, Victor Gennaro, Nikki Bell, Julie Chen, Victoria Guthrie, Ron Jeremy, Schooly-D

Plot Synopsis: Alpha House is a wealthy sorority long past its glory days. New pledges experimenting with forgotten rituals discover a secret darkness. A demonic evil promises to grant the girls' deepest desires in exchange for a blood sacrifice. 

Review: In Alpha Girls, we're introduced to four sorority pledges, of various backgrounds. At first, they bicker, but they soon bond with each other. One of the girls has experience in dealing with magic. At one point, she gets her hands on a book that deals in black magic and this results in them killing their pledge master in order to obtain the things that they want in life. For one of them, it's money. For another, it's good grades and so on and so on.

Alpha Girls actually takes the time to show the differences among the four girls, to show them bonding and forming a friendship with one another, to give each of them their own identity and to set up the overall scenario. You would think that this should be storytelling 101, but, I guess, in this day and age, filmmakers are in such a rush to get to the scary stuff, that they forget to build a foundation for the film. Since Alpha Girls takes the time to put these pieces into place, I was able to identify with the characters. I was able to identify with the situation at hand and, all of this, lead to me being engaged with the story, as it reveals itself.  

Moving forward, now that some of these friends have gotten what they want, they think they can move on, free of consequences. However, their ringleader let's them know that things aren't that easy and that if they don't continue with what they started, there will be repercussions. And this is where things start to spiral out of control.

All of this is great fodder for some horror movie shenanigans. There's a girl on girl battle to the death involving magic. There's some funny one liners. There's some well executed death scenes, etc. The movie takes a pretty familiar premise and executes it well. Beneath the horror movie fodder, there's some social commentary as well. There's the idea that, in life, there's no such thing as a free handout. There's the idea that greed consumes people, to the point, that they end up turning into some sort of monster. The film also explores accountability, owning up to your own mistakes, our own duality of struggling between what's right and what's wrong, etc. etc.

And the cast equates themselves well with the material. The four leads have a nice on screen chemistry as sisters to the death. Beverly Rivera chews on scenes when called upon, but also manages to make her character human, even when she is engaging in murderous behavior. Falon Joslyn turns in a potential breakthrough performance. Her character goes through some low lows and then some highs and then more lows. The key is, Joslyn's performance made me believe in everything that was happening to her character as it was happening. She's the glue that holds this together, as the film switches gears from formula film making to wanting to explore weightier issues. She manages those transitions seamlessly. 

Overall, Alpha Girls is consistently entertaining and a step above other, similar, horror films. It's well acted, well told and even has something to say. I just wish that those elements were utilized on a more worthy film premise. For a film that wants to say something more, it's a shame that they settled on a premise that isn't in line with those ambitions. [Not Rated] 86 mins.

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