Cinematic Releases: My Name Is 'A' By Anonymous

Michelle reviews My Name Is 'A' By Anonymous also known as Alyssa: Portrait of a Teen Killer

"Don't you know, I'm loco!"
Often times, horror films based on true events end up being the most frightening of all.  Human beings can be some of the most terrifying monsters around and the scariest part is they could be living right next to you. They can be your friends, lovers, coworkers…even your children. We all know the saying “children can be cruel” but when death or murder happens, it seems especially horrendous when perpetrated by kids. My Name is ‘A’ by Anonymous delves into what could possibly be going on within the minds of evil teenagers.

The plot is based on real life events, concerning the murder of a nine-year-old girl by fifteen-year-old Alyssa Bustamante (Katie Marsh). It’s filmed in a mockumentary style, utilizing digital cameras and camera phone footage interspersed with some artsy editing. While this style gives it a home movie feel, it does come off a little cheap-looking and disjointed. 

The film is also very slowly paced; I can see what they were going for (characterization and atmosphere) but the acting by the main characters just isn’t quite up to snuff. It reminded me somewhat of the film Kids, where you follow around disaffected and nihilistic teenagers and watch their exploits. The film has an interesting premise, to be sure, but I really wish the acting had been more naturalistic; at times it comes off really forced.

"Hot water burn baby!"
However, the general atmosphere is excellent and some parts of it are dark and shocking. There is something truly unsettling about watching children degrade and hurt one another. This film has balls to even try to depict such a thing and I can definitely respect the effort put into it.

What surprised me most was the high quality musical score. Moody electronic melodies are mixed with remixes of classical music and it’s an interesting contrast to the on screen activities. Eventually, the film does build to a sinister climax that will leave you feeling spooked and unsettled. Overall, it’s an uneven ride but worth sticking out if you want to see an indie film that tries to do something a little out of the ordinary.

-Michelle Kisner