Alpha Girls (2012)
It’s finally out! Alpha Girls! The indie horror film from Philadelphia! I finally got to see it, thus proving the movie really exists!
Alpha Girls follows Morgan (Falon Joslyn), a transfer student at a Philadelphia university rushing for the Alpha Beta sorority. Alpha Beta alumni are known to go onto become some of the most influential people. However, Morgan soon finds out that this power comes at a sinister price.
And of course, the viewer finds out even sooner than Morgan did. The movie opened with a human sacrifice scene that occurred in 1896. The scene more or less destroyed any and all chance at subtlety to the movie and eliminated any possibility of a surprise. Since Alpha Girls released ample pre-release material, such as production photos, I kind of knew how the movie was going to play out, but I didn’t know it would be spelled out as such right at the beginning.
When Morgan arrives, she meets fellow pledges Cassidy (Beverly Rivera), April (Siying Chen), and Juliet (Nicole Cinaglia). No sooner does she move in that the pledges are put through a rush regimen taken right out of Full Metal Jacket, complete with Gunnery Sergeant Hartman-wannabe President Veronica (Nikki Bell). Of course, things suddenly start to improve when Cassidy performed a satanic ritual that involved eating fish a la A Fish Called Wanda and jamming an ax into Veronica’s chest, granting the pledges’ wishes, such as improving April’s grades or Juliet’s financial situation.
It’s clear the writers were film buffs as Alpha Girls came jam packed with movie references, including an, “I find your lack of faith disturbing.” Other than that, I really wished they had someone look at their script before they went shooting as the story’s structure was an issue and much of the dialogue sounded stiff and unnatural.
For the most part, the acting talent didn’t do much to help. The sacrificial victim at the beginning of the movie was supposed to be crying, but she looked like she was laughing to me. I’m seriously impressed Beverly Rivera was able to say her lines with a straight face. IMDb users describe her as being creepy, but I honestly wanted to laugh when I saw her.
Falon Joslyn gave a passable performance, but I was blown away by Siying Chen’s and Ron Jeremy’s performances. Did I mention neither Chen nor Jeremy got significant time onscreen? The extra they hired to play a cashier at a mini-mart was probably a real cashier, but he couldn’t even deliver those lines right.
That said, Alpha Girls is a movie you need to see as a B-movie if you were to have any hope of enjoying it. I am aware this is a freshman effort on the parts of writer/directors Johnny Zito and Tony Trov. However, even Quentin Tarantino (who by the way won an Oscar for Django Unchained) is comfortable admitting he runs his script by people to check if the dialogue sounded good.
The pacing was also quite uneven. The aforementioned sacrifice scene and the sort of “girls day out” where the pledges are out and about in Philadelphia were both scenes that could’ve been cut with no consequence to the story. I actually felt like many scenes were actually in the movie purely to pad its length, like when Morgan was in the arcade with JD (Victor Gennaro). That whole sequence just felt like it dragged on for far longer than it should have.
Considering the obvious budgetary constraints though, I was actually impressed with the movie’s technical competence. The special effects actually looked surprisingly good, and the cinematography (barring some minor bugs in editing) actually was decent. The blood wasn’t exactly on par with Saving Private Ryan in terms of realism, but there was a lot of it, nearing the level of that of Saw 7.
Overall, this is a movie that I would recommend if you felt like watching an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, except you didn’t want to watch Mystery Science Theater 3000. Get some beer and some friends, and have fun ripping the movie to shreds! Again, it’s a B-movie that was kind of gross, but never remotely truly scary. Poor Siying Chen got washed out in a flood of bad dialogue and acting.