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Eliza Dushku

Eliza Dushku - "Alphabet Killer" Movie - Nytimes.com Review

Saturday 13 December 2008, by Webmaster

“The Alphabet Killer” belongs to the vague genre of supernatural thriller that puts food on the tables of young actresses like Sarah Michelle Gellar and Jessica Alba. But though the story (by Tom Malloy) advances with the usual blend of female anguish and tenacious apparitions, it’s anchored by the considerable skills of Eliza Dushku and classed up by a director (Rob Schmidt) more interested in facts than in frights.

Believably twitchy and preternaturally pallid, Ms. Dushku plays Megan Paige, a workaholic detective who suffers a nervous breakdown when her hunt for a young girl’s killer is accompanied by visions of the decomposing deceased. Two years in an institution and one diagnosis of schizophrenia later, Megan returns to work to learn that the killer has resurfaced using the same M.O.: choosing victims whose first and last names begin with the same letter.

Loosely based on a series of murders that took place in Rochester in the 1970s, “The Alphabet Killer” relies less on the novelty of its premise than on the positioning of solid actors in minor roles (including Melissa Leo and Martin Donovan as the tortured parents of a murdered child) and the intelligence of its star. Yet the out-of-left-field ending, rich with sequel potential, may be its scariest scene: there are, after all, an awful lot of letters in the alphabet.


Opens on Friday in Manhattan.

Directed by Rob Schmidt; written by Tom Malloy; director of photography, Joe DeSalvo; edited by Frank Reynolds; music by Eric Perlmutter; production designer, Alicia Keywan; produced by Mr. Malloy, Aimee Schoof, Isen Robbins and Russ Terlecki; released by Anchor Bay Entertainment. At the Cinema Village, 22 East 12th Street, Greenwich Village. Running time: 1 hour 40 minutes.

WITH: Eliza Dushku (Megan Paige), Cary Elwes (Capt. Kenneth Shine), Timothy Hutton (Richard Ledge), Tom Malloy (Stephen Harper), Michael Ironside (Capt. Nathan Norcross), Martin Donovan (Jim Walsh), Melissa Leo (Kathy Walsh) and Bill Moseley (Carl Tanner).