Eva is an accidental witness of the death of a young girl, even more: she's got it all on tape. Shortly hereafter she encounters Dieter, a charming young man. These two facts cause a chain ...
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Eva is an accidental witness of the death of a young girl, even more: she's got it all on tape. Shortly hereafter she encounters Dieter, a charming young man. These two facts cause a chain of events that changes not only her life, but also that of her friends in a brutal way...Written by
"De Alias" is Belgium's first true high-profile exploitation movie. You might not guess it by the looks of the poster, and even the trailer merely suggest a slick thriller, but nothing could be further from the truth. Director Jan Verheyen artfully combines a romantic encounter with some pretty twisted twists.
"De Alias" gets off to a tense start, when a man is being dragged from his isolation-cell in some loony-bin, is being put in a car, smacked in the face and driven off a cliff. The police barely has a clue what might have happened, so the case is quickly closed.
Flash-forward to the city of Ghent, where two girls (newcomer Hilde De Baerdemaker and Veerle Dobbelaere) by accident film the apparent suicide of a beautiful young girl, who jumps naked out of a forth-story window. A little later, the girls are nearly robbed of their camcorder, if it hadn't been for a mysterious stranger (Geert Hunaerts), who beats up the thugs and returns the camera. Eva, one of the girls, is immediately smitten with the hero, and decides to go for a drink with him. But little does she know that the stranger may, or may not have anything to do with the girl's suicide earlier on ...
When reading this, you might think that this looks like the outline for yet another predictable thriller. Wrong! Screenwriters Verheyen, Dirickx and Koeck have made considerable effort to create a twisty, yet believable story, that goes pretty far, without losing it's credibility. The first half of the film moves along smoothly while introducing the characters, raising the tension and revealing the true identity of the mysterious stranger. But it's only in the second half of the film that the plot takes a turn for the worst and the pace really picks up. The viewer is being thrown from one revelation into the next, while the protagonists are dropping like flies. Voyeurism, sex, violence, incest ... you name it, "De Alias" has it all, and still manages to be neither gratuitous nor tasteless. Director Jan Verheyen is obviously very fond of the '70s trash-cinema and enthusiastically recycles those themes into a truly exciting and gripping film. Some films he may or may not be paying direct homage to are "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre", "Psycho" and "Se7en". Just look at one of the final scenes, where the protagonist is invited to a macabre dinner-party, or the scene where the killer's father is reloading his gun, while his terrified victim has to watch him. Truly cinema at it's weirdest.
Despite all these merits, the film does have a couple of flaws, not in the least the terrible performance by Veerle Dobbelaere. She simply isn't up to par. For some reason she doesn't look the part and has difficulty making her character believable. On the other hand, the performances by Hilde De Baerdemaker and especially Geert Hunaerts, are excellent. The direction and photography are exceptionally good (especially for a Flemish film), the music is appropriate and for once the dialogue isn't predictable and idiotic.
In short: like Verheyen's previous film "Team Spirit", "De Alias" is one of those rare Flemish films that succeeds in being different, without forgetting to be good. If you enjoy a weird film, you might like this one. (7.5/10)
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