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Alice in chains 

Savvy filmgoers are primed for where horror lurks. We know not to go in the woods, the basement, the attic, the house on the hill and the out-of-the-way motel.

But What Alice Found adds a new danger zone caution: Don't go in the RV!

Driving South to visit her high school friend at the University of Miami, working-class, can't-win-for-losing Alice (Emily Grace) has car trouble on the highway. She is "rescued" by honey-tongued retiree Sandra (Judith Ivey) and her husband, Bill (Bill Raymond), piloting their home-on-wheels toward the Sunshine State.

Alice joins the pair on their slow ramble southward and soon discovers why the couple are taking their sweet time: the Mrs. is servicing truckers in the RV's back bedroom at various stops along the way. To intensify the "ewww" factor, Alice allows the darkly maternal Sandra to tart her up with some Egyptian eye makeup and a pink bra. Alice then joins the family business, working the living room couch in this whorehouse on wheels.

With its digital video verite and nearly expressionless heroine, What Alice Found suggests an I Spit on Your Grave-brand of exploitation film about the murky dangers awaiting Northern girls in the steamy, sin-riddled South. The filmmaker's "concern" for the pressing issue of truck stop hooking is secondary to the rubbernecking thrill of writer/director A. Dean Bell's morbidly engrossing trashy milieu.

While Sandra, the sweetly cooing hooker with a heart of gold, makes it conceivable how a young girl might be gently ushered into a life of truck stop sin, there's little in Grace's performance to make one care. Alice remains a frustrating blank throughout. The film is creepy not because of its sordid doings but because of Bell's clinical true-crime detachment. Everything about this film feels devoid of life and heart.

What Alice Found opens March 19 at Madstone Theaters.

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