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Alphabet Killer

3.5 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A ten year old girl is found brutally murdered outside the small blue-collar city of Rochester, New York, and obsessed police detective Megan Paige (Eliza Dushku) suffers a mental breakdown while trying to solve the crime. But when the child-killings resume two years later, Megan's return to the investigation also brings back her own horrific hallucinations. Even if she can prove a 'double initial' connection to the slayings, will she hang onto her sanity long enough to catch a psychopath?

Amazon.com

In the spirit of suspense films and television shows that focus on the sleuth’s attempt to make something out of senseless violence, Alphabet Killer is less about the murders it details than about the detective, Megan Paige (Eliza Dushku of Buffy the Vampire Slayer), who suffers mentally for studying brutality. Though opening scenes show young girls slayed at various wooded Rochester, New York crime scenes, the film quickly digresses into Megan’s stressed relationship with her co-detective lover, Kenneth Shine (Cary Elwes), who watches her obsession with the case spiral out of control. As murders continue, Megan gets psychic leads and is haunted by the ghosts of the wrongly deceased, but cannot solve the case. Megan’s diagnosis as a schizophrenic complicates matters greatly, and elevates the film into deeper story, especially when one senses, through subtle filmic clues, the creepiness of Megan’s therapist, Richard Ledge (Timothy Hutton). Some silly, dramatized enactments of mental illness on Dushku’s part do not help convince the viewer through fine acting, though one may be willing to look past this in hopes for pending potential spookiness. And the conundrum posed by Megan in her therapy group is engaging: manic people do often excel due to intuition, yet it is their ability to experience the world differently that gets them into trouble. Although the ghosts hallucinations are unconvincing, and Dushku probably could have used more research before she took the role, Alphabet Killer captivates because it shows how convoluted layers of reality can confuse even the sharpest detective. The disturbing thing about Alphabet Killer is not the film itself but the idea behind it: that the majority of what we know and trust is illusory, and that truth is discovered best through madness. --Trinie Dalton

Stills from The Alphabet Killer (Click for larger image)










Special Features

  • Audio Commentary with Producer Isen Robbins and Director Rob Schmidt
  • Audio Commentary with writer/producer/actor Tom Malloy
  • A To Z: The Making of the Alphabet Killer
  • First Victim - Alternate Scene

Product Details

  • Actors: Eliza Dushku, Cary Elwes, Timothy Hutton, Tom Malloy, Michael Ironside
  • Directors: Rob Schmidt
  • Writers: Tom Malloy
  • Producers: Eliza Dushku, Aimee Schoof, Ashley Holloway, Brandon Baker, Daniel Sollinger
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Surround)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
  • DVD Release Date: January 6, 2009
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001HVZO7A
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,081 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Alphabet Killer" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
I'll admit, I have a morbid fascination with serial killer movies. They harness a raw energy that is almost overwhelming. There is often a strange connection with the victims, the detectives, and sometimes even the killers themselves(or is it just me?). Plus there is a stark fear generated by recognizing a pattern and watching people struggle to prevent further mayhem.

THE ALPHABET KILLER is a pretty well-crafted, fictional tale. It's derived from some unsolved murders that took place in Rochester, NY, during the early 70's. A few young girls with matching initials would turn up dead in nearby towns that were spelled with the same first letter (i.e. Carla Castille in Churchville, Wendy Walsh in Webster).

A female detective(Eliza Dushku) is on the case, and she quickly becomes obsessed with cracking it. Actually, she's the one that starts to crack. She gets completely consumed, the mystery eats at her mind as she starts talking to herself and hallucinating (same thing happens to me when I watch reality TV shows).

Anyway, the movie takes a pretty dramatic shift early on when this woman loses control and attempts suicide. She is diagnosed with scizophrenia and admitted to a mental hospital.

Several times throughout this movie, we're shown the visions that this crazy woman sees--ghastly dead children that constantly haunt her. This is done for shocking effect, but I thought it was completely overdone. Kinda seemed like a ripoff of a Japanese ghost story film.

The story then proceeds as the police are completely baffled by the subsequent Alphabet murders. The mentally unfit cop is put back on the case, possibly due to her past romantic relationship with the chief. And of course, crazy is not something you can just sell on amazon.com.
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This is actually quite a decent movie until the third act, where it just gets very turgid, hackneyed and hokey. The drama around the personal and professional downfall of detective Megan Paige (Eliza Dushku) is well crafted and well played, and it just doesn't feel like something I've seen before, but every time the victims' ghosts appear to her I got the feeling that this movie might not be as original and fresh as it seemed. The ending has been dredged up from the very bottom of the filthy barrel of police procedural clichés. A real pity.
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While the movie its self is a mediocre story, Eliza Dushku does an excellent job portraying a detective that's snapped. However, the story seemed a little incomplete and unresolved, it kept me entertained and intrigued in exactly how everything was going to happen.

When the main character has her episode near the beginning of the movie, it seems to be rushed into the story and almost out of nowhere. You're not given the proper information about any of her previous issues, nor are you made aware of her really, truly having any current issues. She simply goes from being basically okay and dedicated to the case to extremely unstable. It would have been nice to see more of a buildup and more to her past to truly connect with the character and the things she found herself going through.

If you're a Dushku fan, I'd recommend it, she does a great job with what she's given. The movie is far from a masterpiece though so there aren't too many reasons to watch it aside from her. I should restate that; there aren't too many reasons to purchase the movie aside from her.
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I got a chance to be an extra in one of the scenes with Eliza Dushku and Timothy Hutton, probably one of the coolest things I've ever had a chance to do. Decent movie, was loosely based on some murders that happened in and around Rochester, NY in the 70s.
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Format: DVD
Well, it's hard for me to give a movie more than three stars if I can figure out the ending (right down to the smallest detail) mid way through. This movie wanted to be good, it really did. It wanted to hang with the likes of se7en and Silence of the Lambs (given that's a really big "want"), but in the end this movie will dwindle into renter's obscurity.

The director, Rob Schmidt, does manage a few intriguing moments coupled with a touch of suspense, but if you really pay attention you'll solve this riddle with ease.

On a side note, I still can't take Cary Elwes seriously. He was great in movies like "Robinhood: Men in Tights" and the classic "The Princess Bride", but movies like Saw left me laughing hysterically when I should have been cringing with fear and angst (the desperate reaching for the phone scene still makes me laugh). Albeit his performance here was much better than Saw, I still struggle with him in serious roles. As for Timothy Hutton and Eliza Dushku, both are strong actors and did the best they could with what they were given.

In the end I'm rating this film 3 stars (would have been 2.5 had it not followed an even worse film--HORSEMAN staring Dennis Quaid. More to follow on that travesty!)
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Format: DVD
This psychological crime thriller reminds us of the adage - a person can be crazy but not stupid. A detective has a psychological problem that is intensified with stress. She sees and hears things that do not exist. She is working on a case where a young girl is rapped, strangled, and murdered. She becomes obsessed with finding the killer and when, after months of work, she fails to find any results she tries to kill herself. She is hospitalized in a mental institution for two years. When she is released the police department rehires her, but only as a file clerk. She discovers that the killings have begun again after a two year stoppage. Where was the killer during the two years? She persuades the captain to let her tag along with the detectives. She becomes overly stressed again, but does discover who the killer is. But as she makes this discovery, she again loses her mind. What will happen next? Will the killings continue? Will she be able to recover and identify the murderer? The film is filled with suspense and the acting is very good.
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