As Charlie Brooker’s sci-fi anthology series, Black Mirror, has so eloquently demonstrated, our ever-growing dependency on technology is not necessarily a good thing. Our relationship with tech has the potential for dire consequences as we become even more detached from our humanity. Filmmakers Russell Ketterman and David Bennett (Ryker 2019 – read our review here) explore the relationship idea between man and machine in their latest horror short, Hey Alice.
With the growing popularity of artificial intelligence software, Hey Alice, taking the world by storm, tech guru and founder of this phenomenon, Daniel Becker (David Bennett), continues his venture by working from home. However, things take an unexpected turn when coworkers Ken (Russell Ketterman) and Andrew (Andrew Irvin) interrupt Daniel’s solitude with a friendly visit. And, such as in the world of cutthroat corporate America, there is a hidden agenda behind the duo’s seemingly harmless actions. When deadly truths are revealed, Daniel’s original prototype of Hey Alice comes in danger of slipping from his fingertips and yet another toxic relationship emerges.
Much like Bennett and Ketterman’s previous short film, Ryker, Hey Alice utilizes simplicity on a bare-bones budget. Only this time, Ketterman takes his turn in the director’s chair while Bennett continues to demonstrate his talent in front of the camera.
Opening with a fitting, ear-catching score and a voice-over narrative, Hey Alice takes on an electrifying Black Mirror vibe suggesting unforeseen dangers to come following Daniel’s fame and fortune. As the artificial intelligence creator prepares refreshments for his guests, Ken and Andrew quickly devise their next plan of action. The plot thickens following an unexpected turn. However, as the true villain of this story is revealed, some plot details are left blank, leading to critical, unanswered questions.
Although the story arc of Hey Alice is noteworthy, we are left with a plethora of assumptions and possibilities as to the villain’s full process of working towards a goal that isn’t entirely clear. Is it as simple as someone offing potential threats to a coveted relationship? Are they simply insane? Or, is there more to this plot development? Implications can be excellent in cinema. However, this type of scenario simply requires more specifics.
Flaws aside, Hey Alice is yet another testament to Bennett and Ketterman’s raw talent and potential growth as storytellers. An intriguing plot backed by exceptional performances, this short will have you second guessing your personal relationship with your beloved electronic devices. And that is where this short film succeeds. In a world where thought produced by artistic expression is far and few between, Hey Alice highlights our ever-increasing detachment from humanity… a quality that separates us from the electronic devices that we hold so dear.