Sunday, May 7, 2017

Daniel Di Grado's ALENA: The Swedes attempt to make a horror movie (and fall on their face)

Supposedly based on a graphic novel by Kim W Andersson, the movie ALENA offers just about all those "graphic novel" tropes, from utterly-obvious to simple-minded-in-the-extreme to piled-mile-high-with-cliches. Watching this film -- for anyone over the age of, say, 21 who has seen a few other horror movies in his or her lifetime -- is rather like serving out a prison sentence that at least offers up a few enticing visuals and lasts only 83 minutes. As co-adapted and directed by Daniel Di Grado, the film pretty much defines the word predictable.

Mr. Di Grado, pictured at left, hands us themes and scenes such as bullying, mean girls, the lonely outsider with a troubled history, deserted classrooms and showers, stalking, and a little lesbian sex and then stirs them all together for maximum effort and minimum fun. The only at all surprising thing here is that our "heroine," the titular Alena (played by Amalia Holm, shown below at Lacrosse) almost never seems in the least concerned about the bullying or possible harm that might come to her. And for good reason. To suggest that she can take care of herself quite well, thank you, is to put it mildly.

Our Alena has a "friend" -- the identity and actuality of which should be apparent from the second time we see her, if not the very first -- who helps (or maybe hinders) Alena along.

She is also surrounded by those mean girls (below), in particular one who proves so very entitled and nasty that you just know she going to get hers -- and big time!

And, yes, there is a new best friend, below, who maybe wants a bit more than mere friendship. As usual, the teachers are weak or foolish or not nearly enough concerned, and if there is a cliche in all this that Mr. Di Grado managed to leave unearthed, I missed it.

Surely the Swedes (the film was made in Sweden) can do better than this so far as something horrifying is concerned. Otherwise, please stick to just about any other genre.

From the KimStim Collection via Icarus Films, the DVD of Alena hits the street this coming Tuesday, May 9 -- for purchase and/or rental. You've been warned.

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