An above-average direct-to-video urban slasher, Cutthroat Alley is basically Scream in the ‘Hood. It borrows liberally from the Wes Craven flick, but what it lacks in originality it makes up for in direction, writing and production value (everything’s relative here, folks). The story is a cohesive whodunit with no major plot holes (although in the opening scene a woman seems to drive a car from the passenger’s seat), plus you get to see two rappers (Mack 10 and Bizzy Bone, neither of whom have particularly big parts) die; what more could you want?
Basically, there’s a killer going around in the ‘hood (LA, that is), which wouldn’t normally raise suspicion, except this one’s using a big-ass knife (see cover) instead of a gun cocked sideways. Rob (Cisco Reyes), the “sell out” who has the gall to enroll in college, is the main suspect — even in the minds of his girlfriend Angie (Marquita Joyce) and mother (Janice Palmer). Ouch. There’s an interesting exchange of racial viewpoints when Rob, in an attempt to clear his name, accuses his white friend Winston (Josh Watson):
Winston: “Are you asking me because I’m white?”
Rob: “Look, man, these are well-calculated murders. My people don’t plan crimes like this.”
Winston: “So we’re just gonna forget about the low-riding snipers?”
Rob: “OK, one other time.”
Winston: “Brady, child killer in Atlanta. Wallace murdered nine women in North Carolina –“
Cutthroat Alley isn’t particularly scary or unique, but it’s competent and has at least half a brain, which is more than you can say for a lot of DTV horror films.