The Alphabet Killer Rob Schmidt

The Alphabet Killer Rob Schmidt
On paper, The Alphabet Killer looks like it has the potential to be at least a cut above most unheralded genre pictures that make the quick trip to DVD. A supporting cast that includes Cary Elwes, Timothy Hutton, Bill Moseley and Michael Ironside should be able to deliver some serious menace, sympathy or at least some sinister vibes, right? Right? And maybe Eliza Dushku's lead performance as an obsessive police investigator developing schizophrenia while she works on an emerging serial killer case would be the role that would get fans to learn how to pronounce her last name instead of resorting to calling her "Faith." If all else fails, this movie is based on a true story, so there should be some intriguing facts or a measure of believability, at the very least. But wait a second, is it possible that the director of Wrong Turn, Rob Schmidt, and Tom Malloy, writer of, um, The Alphabet Killer, could take all this promise and turn in a garbled mess that is bland, predictable and totally unbelievable? Yes, of course they could, and yes, that's exactly what they did. The filmmakers claim to have had the interests of the victims and their families in mind and wanted to expose this true case of a serial killer who preyed upon young girls with double initials, dumping them in a town with a matching initial. If that's true, then why is the majority of the film focused on the mental breakdown of a fictional investigator? There is little to explain or even explore the motivation of Dushku's ill-fated super-cop beyond the trump card of deteriorating mental health. Throw in a poorly conceived red-herring ghost story as a terribly disguised example of schizophrenia manifesting and any lingering traces of credibility disintegrate. The special features are thankfully slim, with a "making of" that's just a bunch of behind-the-scenes shots, and a barely noticeable alternate version of the "First Victim" scene. Two commentaries are included, a generic pause-filled track with the producer and director, and another with the goofy yammering of the project's writer/actor, Tom Malloy. (Anchor Bay)