DOLLHOUSE star Eliza Dushku is absurdly miscast in the now-on-DVD thriller THE ALPHABET KILLER as a police detective named Megan Paige, whose investigation of the rape and murder of a teenage girl in upstate New York turns to obsession. For some reason, she is fixated with the victim’s initials—C.C.—and believes they’re the key to solving the crime, even though there is no evidence that indicates that. Her boss (MANHUNTER’s Tom Noonan) takes her off the case after months of no leads, and she attempts suicide in a schizophrenic state.
Two years later, the killer strikes again using the double-initial M.O. Megan, now on medication for her mental illness and back on the force with a desk job, convinces her new captain, Ken Shine (a doughy Cary Elwes)—her ex-fiancé—to put her on the case. Teamed with a reluctant new partner, Stephen Harper (screenwriter Tom Malloy, who slyly gives himself a kissing scene with Dushku for no other reason than he wanted to make out with her), Megan’s return to the case also brings back the hallucinations that led to her meltdown.
It’s not a very good movie, but THE ALPHABET KILLER at least assembles a surprisingly good cast. Oscar nominee Melissa Leo (FROZEN RIVER), Oscar winner Timothy Hutton (ORDINARY PEOPLE), Michael Ironside, Carl Lumbly, Larry Hankin, Bill Moseley, Martin Donovan, and Jack McGee play brief scenes for director Schmidt, who reunites with his WRONG TURN star Dushku.
Continuity errors, drab digital photography, and Dushku’s unconvincing performance make this humorless mystery something to miss. Neither Schmidt nor Malloy seems very interested in the thriller aspect of the movie, choosing instead to focus on Megan’s character arc. However, Dushku can’t find a way to make her twitchy detective likable or interesting, and there’s little reason to care whether she catches the killer or not. That the killer’s revelation is so idiotic indicates that the filmmakers didn’t much care either.
This may be the first review of this film that doesn’t mention Dushku’s half-second nipple slip.
I couldn’t resist.