All the films mentioned by name in Kim Newman's definitive encyclopedia of horror films, Nightmare Movies. Well worth a read.…
The Disappearance of Alice Creed
Where is Alice Creed?
A rich man's daughter is held captive in an abandoned apartment by two former convicts who abducted her and hold her ransom in exchange for her father's money.
I'm actually a bit surprised that The Disappearance of Alice Creed is not in fact based on a play, so theatrical is its sensibility. More, I'm surprised it wasn't a play from the 60s or 70s, as it feels like some fantasy collaboration between Anthony Shaffer and Harold Pinter, with a few suggestions from Joe Orton thrown in to shock the audience. It's a great credit therefore to writer and director J Blakeson that his full feature directorial debut can not only recall such greats but play only to the strengths, avoiding the pitfalls, of the three hander constraints and styles of the very best theatre, as well as managing the sleight of hand to make a film whose limited…
When The Disappearance of Alice Creed was released in 2009 I completely wrote it off. The title suggested it was just another in the pile of shitty horror movies that come out each year. I love horror, but good new films in the genre are few and far between. I don't think I even thought about this film again until I joined Letterboxd in April of 2012. I read some reviews for it that not only suggested I may have been wrong about it's quality but also it's genre. As it turns out The Disappearance of Alice Creed isn't a horror film at all. It's a crime/thriller that features only three actors and it's surprisingly good. Director J Blakeson making…
I can really respect filmmakers that try to do something that is a bit different and attempt to surprise their audiences. For the better part of this film I thought they had succeeded pretty well. Up until the final act that is.
This film has a fantastic opening. It's crisp, fast and immediately sets the tone. It actually improves upon the opening by unfolding a story full of lovely surprises and twists. I was thoroughly entertained and hopeful that it would keep this up.
That, unfortunately did not happen. They make two mistakes. They never invest in the characters, so by default, neither do we. They also completely overplay their hand and fall into the trap so many other films fall into as well. Too much unpredictability becomes predictable. Which in this case robbed the ending of any impact whatsoever.
It is still worth a watch, but it is a huge shame this film entirely kills its own potential.
'The Disappearance of Alice Creed' opens with scary and cold efficiency. Two men stridently go about a mission that isn't immediately clear. They line the back of their van with plastic, then go shopping for a drill, a mattress and other tools that, for a while give indications that they are building a house - or maybe a bathroom like the one in 'Saw'. They enter a small flat where they assemble a bed that they nail to the floor and then add padding to the walls. They also kidnap a young girl and drag her kicking and screaming to the flat and tie her securely to that bed.
The girl, Alice (Gemma Arterton), is told that she's being held…
I must admit I have a bit of a soft spot for Gemma Arterton. Mainly from Bond but also from Tamara Drewe. I think a lot of her Hollywood output has not enabled her to showcase her skills. The Disappearance of Alice Creed however is a stunning performance from an actress whose potential remains untapped in the USA. Don't be fooled by the plummy accent, her dedication to the acting craft and adoption of method acting for Alice Creed shows she's eager to push on and become a real big star. Based on this, she's totally ready. Kinda sad this was three years back and she's still not getting choice roles stateside.
Another reviewer, Mr Mark C, noted that Alice…
Happy birthday Gemma Arterton.
Gripping if slightly illogical at times.
Again, I tried
Some great twists but my biggest complaint was that we didn't really get to know Alice Creed. It was all expositional. Instead of opening with the kidnappers meticulously preparing, maybe crosscutting with her preparing for her day. Meh, probably wouldn't have made any difference. A good solid film.
Gemma Arterton is Alice Creed, a young woman from a wealthy family who is kidnapped by Martin Compston and Eddie Marsan with the aim of collecting ransom money from her family.
A tightly wound British thriller which, for the most part, takes place in the two crooks' makeshift jail for Alice with only these three characters in the entire film. It is a testament to the three actors that they keep this film gripping throughout even if the storyline does require a bit of suspension of belief in places.
But if you want chilling then you would be hard pressed to better Eddie Marsan who exudes danger throughout and is a truly terrifying presence. Martin Compston does his best to keep up but with this he adds to his list of playing some truly horrible characters and is building a nice career for himself.
Pretty good little thriller. Some nice plot twists.
A very British contemporary indie thriller in its obsession with environmental details, its aimless push-ins, its clinical production design and its symmetrical compositions. But the film's atmospherics never rise above pretension to convincing social realism primarily because the three central characters are (maybe purposefully) little more than vague impressions of kidnapping cinema's stock characters: the ruthlessly single-minded alpha-male kidnapper, the hesitant but potentially more dangerous partner, the horrified but surprisingly strong-willed and resourceful victim, etc.. A series of twists and their attendant anxieties and double-crosses are meant to sustain the intrigue once the titillation of watching a kidnapping dies down, but they mean little because the filmmakers never give the viewer the chance to know or invest in any of the characters.
Preserving this list for posterity as it will disappear from here:
- after number 70, "In a Land…