DVD REVIEW: Malice in Wonderland
A bizarre UK twist on the classic story...
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With the recent release of Disney's Alice in Wonderland in theatres and home video this year, many film companies are jumping on the bandwagon with a variety of Alice adapted and inspired films on DVD, both old and new. One such film is last year's UK release Malice in Wonderland starring Lost’s Maggie Grace.
The film is touted as a modern take on the classic fairytale, but viewers will find that the story is so far removed from the original that it stands on its own with the only similarities being a collection of vague references to characters and some of the base elements of "Alice in Wonderland". In the film, we meet a young girl "Alice" who is running from a group of mystery men and chased through a deserted subway. She escapes onto the street where she is subsequently knocked over by an approaching cab. The cabbie, Whitey, who is extremely late for a meeting, decides to throw the dazed girl into his cab and take her with him to "Wonderland". As she struggles to regain her identity, she encounters a collection of bizarre characters ranging from the crazed carnie Gonzo to the mad madam Hattie. Events culminate as Alice finally finds herself at the infamous Harry Hunt's party and in serious trouble that she may not escape alive.
This extremely bizarre film reminds me of such drug-fueled trips as Requiem for a Dream or Trainspotting, but with the odd little twists that one finds in a fantasy film. While the acting by Maggie Grace is anything but perfect, the film is carried by some great performances from Danny Dryer as Whitey (the White Rabbit) and Gary Beadle as the enigmatic DJ Felix Chester (Cheshire Cat). The DVD isn't big on special features, but includes the most typical bonuses such as the Making of Wonderland and a Behind the Scenes Photo Gallery.
While the film isn't for everybody, it's certainly worth a look if you enjoy your films on the odd side or taking a trip down the rabbit hole once and awhile. Malice in Wonderland is available on home video now!
- Michael Klein