Alice in Terrorland (2023) Movie Script

- Yes, Ms.
Crimesly, this is Robert Shaw
calling again from
Social Services.
This is my fourth
message to you.
I'm afraid it's regarding
your granddaughter,
Alice Aciman.
It not good news, and if
you could find a moment,
I would really appreciate it...
- A boat beneath a sunny
sky, lingering onward,
dreamily in an evening of July.
Children three that nestle near
eager, eye and willing ear,
pleased a simple tale to hear.
Long had paled that sunny sky,
echoes fade and memories die.
Autumn frosts have slain July.
Still she haunts
me, phantomwise,
Alice moving under skies,
never seen by waking eyes.
Children yet, the tale to hear
eager eye and willing ear,
lovingly shall nestle near.
In a Wonderland they lie,
dreaming as the days go by,
dreaming as the summers die.
Ever drifting down the stream,
lingering in the golden gleam.
Life, what is it but a dream?
- Oh, my dearest Alice.
- You must be Beth.
- Beth Crimesly.
But you can call me,
well, what would
you like to call me?
- Gran.
- We are family.
Last two standing.
Oh, I'm so sorry, dear.
That was well out of term.
Come on in.
Let's get you warm and settled.
- Oh my God.
- Quite something, isn't it?
- It's beautiful.
- The foundations date
back to the 15th century.
Alas, I think the heating system
and the pigeons were
of the same period.
- Hello, you.
What's your name?
I'm Alice.
- That's Mitzi.
And this is Maisie.
- Hello, Mitzi.
You are awfully cute.
- Here.
Drink some tea.
It will warm you up.
- Thank you.
- This house does get
very chilly, especially
in the winter.
It's so big, you see.
I'm sorry I couldn't
get to the funeral.
I didn't know anything about it.
None of it, until the lawyers
got in touch six weeks ago
and I made arrangements for
you to come to me as quickly
as possible.
- It's okay, I spoke to him.
I'm sorry if--
- There's no need to apologize.
How are you?
I mean, really?
How are you coping?
Oh, I'm sorry.
Too early.
- No, it's just
I haven't really,
I haven't really
spoken to anyone.
- Well, there hasn't really
been anyone, has there?
You poor lamb.
- In the home where they put me,
while they were looking for you.
There was someone, but I
mean, there were kids there.
Kids with bigger
problems than me.
- You have her courage.
You have her eyes.
I can see you in her and you
have her heart, no doubt,
courageous and defiant
like that of a lion.
The only thing you
can do, Alice, is to
keep moving forward.
It doesn't matter how
far, one step at a time.
And today, those steps
have brought you to me.
And you'll be fine.
You'll be safe here.
I promise.
- Did we ever meet,
like when I was a baby?
- No, your mother and I, we--
- Go on.
- There'll be plenty
of time for that.
All the time in the world.
Now drink up your tea
and Mitzi, Maisie and I
will show you to your room.
It was your mother's room.
I hope you'll like it.
- I'm sure it'll be perfect.
- I'll leave you
to unpack your bags
and leave you some space.
Just come and find me
when you are ready.
I wouldn't go anywhere
near the woods.
Not at this time of year.
We have six acres and
there are poachers.
As long as you stick
to the water's edge,
you should be fine.
That's if you feel
like exploring.
- Hello?
- It was my mother's recipe.
Her ancestors lived here.
My ancestors and
yours too, I suppose.
- How did it get its name.
- Wonderland?
Aren't you familiar
with the book?
You should be, you
were named after it.
- Book?
- The Adventures of Alice in
Wonderland, Lewis Carroll.
- I saw the movie, but
I've never read the book.
- Well, it was said that
Lewis Carroll lived here
in the early 1800s and
this was supposed to have
inspired him.
Inspired him to write one
of the greatest examples
of Victorian literature,
and then my ancestors
named it after it.
- What was it called,
before that I mean?
- Crimesly house.
How was the soup?
- Yeah, it was good.
Really good.
Do you have a copy?
- A copy?
- Of the book,
Alice in Wonderland?
- Well, of course.
- I'd love to read it.
- Well, I shall have to
dig you out a copy then.
You didn't go anywhere
near the woods, did you?
- No, I just stayed
by the stream.
It was so peaceful.
- I meant what I said
about the woods Alice.
Do you play?
- Play what?
- Cards.
- I played with my friends,
not so much with...
- With?
- I played with my friend a lot.
- Do you still miss her?
- After it happened
I kind of shut down.
I haven't really
spoken to anyone in
it feels like forever.
- Forever is a long time, Alice.
- Did you ever lose anyone?
Before, I mean.
- I'm sorry, I'm...
- What happened
between mum and you?
- Not very good at
talking about it.
Perhaps one day we'll learn
to help each other heal.
- I hope so, I'd like that.
I'm sorry if--
- Right.
Let the game begin.
Hey, why did you stop?
- I'm sorry, I didn't
know if I was allowed.
It's so beautiful.
- Of course.
Wonderland is your home now.
Our home, fate has brought
us together, you and I.
Did she teach you how to play?
And who do you think taught her?
- Something about
being here with you
makes me feel closer to her.
- Oh.
Right, budge up.
Oh my dear girl, Alice?
Are you all right?
Oh, I wonder whatever it
was that came over you.
Perhaps a little too much
excitement for one day.
Now you rest up and I'll go
and get a little something
to settle your tummy.
- Gran?
- Yes dear.
- Thank you for everything.
- There we go.
All my own recipe.
And it's all from the garden.
It'll do you the power of good.
Just take little sips,
little and often.
I will be just down the
corridor if you need me.
There you go.
You are okay.
Are you still cold?
Oh, there, nice and snug.
- Don't go.
- I've just had an idea.
I'll be right back.
I promise.
- Promise?
- I promise
I am going to read you to sleep.
I'm going to tell you a story.
The story of Alice's
adventures in Wonderland.
Chapter one, down
the rabbit hole.
Alice was beginning to get
very tired of sitting by her
sister on the bank and
of having nothing to do.
Once or twice she had
peeped into the book
her sister was reading,
but it had no pictures
or conversations in it.
And what is the use of a book,
thought Alice, without
pictures or conversations.
So she was considering
in her own mind as well
as she could for the hot day,
made her feel very
sleepy and stupid.
Whether the pleasure
of making a daisy chain
would be worth the
trouble of getting up
and picking the daisies.
When suddenly, a white
rabbit with pink eyes
ran close by her.
In another moment down
went Alice after it,
never once considering
how in the world she was
to get out again.
- Beth?
- Hello Alice.
- How do you know my name?
- I'd love to stop and
chat, but I'd be late.
- Late?
What are you late for?
- The very important date.
The party's starting
soon, I can't be late.
It is the seat of bad manners.
Would you like to come with me?
- Come with you?
- To the party.
It's a very important date.
- Yes.
Yes, you said.
Just dreaming.
Go along with it.
Wake up, wake up.
What happened?
- I killed them.
They were late.
The seat of bad manners.
I thought you agreed.
It's my little secret.
- What is?
- The cake, I always
poison the cake.
All children love cake.
- You've killed
them for being late.
- I killed them for being late.
Have you ever been late, Alice?
When the house burned
around your parents,
the smoke slowly
choking your mother.
Was it not sweet little
Alice who was too late
to raise the alarm?
- You don't know what
you're talking about.
- Would you like to see a trick?
It's all about sleight of hand.
I can make it all
go away, Alice.
- What?
- I can make the
pain all go away.
- How?
- Want to see a trick?
- Beth?
- Alice, whatever is it, you
look like you've seen a ghost.
- I had a nightmare.
- Oh, you poor lamb.
- It was just like the book.
There was a rabbit.
- A rabbit?
Oh goodness.
Well, I don't know how much
you were able to absorb.
You fell asleep before I
finished the first chapter.
- I'm sorry.
- No need to apologize.
It was just a dream.
- No, I meant I fell asleep
while you were reading to me.
You must think me quite rude.
- Not at all, I just wanted you
to awake before I continued.
But when you can
sleep, you must.
You need the rest, my dear.
In the morning you
will be right as rain.
I assure you.
And when I can, I
must get on with this.
Otherwise it'll take
me a month of Sundays.
- What is it?
- A scarf.
- It's beautiful.
- Well, as I said,
the heating and the foundations
go back to the same period.
Oh no, not again.
Alice, can you
manage on your own?
I'll go get some fresh towels.
- What are you doing here?
Who are you?
- I'm Tallulah.
- And I'm Tara.
- What do you want?
- We are here to warn you.
- We're here to
tell you a story.
- I need to find Beth.
- She can't hear you.
- Why not?
- You are not awake.
- You are still dreaming.
- I want to wake up now.
- But we haven't told
you our story yet.
- I'm not sure I want
to hear it right now.
- Don't you want to
know how it happened?
- How he did it?
- Who did that to you?
What happened?
- It was the walrus.
- That's what they called him.
- Who?
- The press.
- Why did they call
him the walrus?
- That's what they
called him at school.
- The bullies.
- The ones he said
drove him to it.
He grew up to be a carpenter
and he'd drive
around in his van.
- Around and around.
- Looking.
- Waiting.
- Where is he?
The walrus.
- Shh.
- He'll hear you.
- Where are we?
- Shh.
He's coming.
Something wicked this way comes.
- What's happening?
What is this?
- This is how it happened.
He's going to take her now.
- Excuse me.
I was wondering if
you could help me.
I'm a little lost, I must
have got turned around.
I'm looking for
the Levine Avenue.
Yeah, can you,
can you help me?
Can you help me?
The walrus and the
carpenter ate the oysters.
Because they could.
Because I could.
Because I could.
The walrus and the carpenter.
- Where is she?
- ate the oysters.
- Who?
Your sister.
- 'Cause I could.
'Cause I could.
- Why.
- The walrus
and the carpenter.
- He'll hear you.
You mustn't interrupt
him while he works.
- Why?
- Because they could.
- Entitlement.
That is his undoing,
as it will be hers.
- Hers?
What are you talking about?
- Because I could.
Because I could.
Because I could.
Because I could.
Because I could.
Because I could.
Because I could.
Because I could.
Because I could.
Because I could.
Because I could!
Because I could!
Because I could!
- Close your eyes
and make the wish.
- Because I could!
- Tweedledum and Tweedledee
agreed to have a battle.
For Tweedledum said
Tweedledee had spoiled
his nice new rattle.
Just then flew down
a monstrous crow
as black as a tar barrel, which
frightened both our heroes,
so they quite forgot
their quarrel.
Oh my dear.
You're burning up.
Shall I fetch you a fresh towel?
- I don't know
what's wrong with me.
I felt fine earlier.
- I know, it's
all so unexpected.
You must be so frightened.
- Please don't leave me.
I feel so sick.
- I have just the thing for you.
Hold on, I'll be right back.
This was your mother's.
You take good care of her.
- No, I can't still be dreaming.
- The caterpillar and
Alice looked at each other
for some time in silence.
At last, the caterpillar took
the hookah out of its mouth
and addressed her in a
languid, sleepy voice.
- Who are you?
Said the caterpillar.
- I think you ought
to tell me who you are first.
- No, you.
Who are you?
- I'm Alice.
Alice Aciman.
- Yes.
There she is.
There you are.
Alice, Alice in Wonderland.
Is that how you dealt
with your parents' death?
Shut it out.
The screaming?
- What?
- You just closed
your eyes and waited
into the quiet of the stream.
- I lost my parents.
- We've all lost someone.
Yet we're supposed to
continue like we didn't.
Tell me Alice,
did you ever look at it from
a different perspective?
- Look at what?
- Your situation, your
circumstance, predicament.
- You can only look at a
situation from the perspective
with which you meant it.
- Do you think she has your
best interests at heart?
- Who?
- Her, the Red Queen.
- Who are you?
- Just a concerned friend.
A friend.
- Beware.
- Beware the Red Queen.
- But...
- Perhaps the question is not
who are you, but who is she?
- Alice?
Alice, it's all right.
It's all right.
It's all right.
You've had a dream.
It was a nightmare.
Alice, you're okay.
It's the fever.
Look at me.
Look at me!
That's it.
It's Beth.
It's your gran.
You're okay.
That's it.
That's it.
You're back in the room now.
You're okay.
You're okay.
- I don't feel good.
I think I need to see a doctor.
- A doctor?
- I feel so sick.
I've never felt anything
like this in my stomach.
- Darling, well I don't
know what it could be.
I mean, it can't be the food.
We both ate the same thing.
- No, it's not the food.
The food was good.
It's just.
- Alice, Alice.
All up?
- I don't think there
could be anything left.
That smells good.
- A slightly different blend.
Just in case there was
something in the first lot
that disagreed with you.
Hey, I'm here to look after you.
Now let's get you tucked
back into bed, huh?
Oh, and I did call the good
doctor, but there was no answer.
It's highly unlikely that he
will come before tomorrow.
That's assuming that
he gets the messages
before his morning rounds.
But don't worry.
You're in good hands.
You're in great hands.
This is going to be
new for both of us.
There will be these
milestones along the way.
The first time you get sick,
the first time you fall.
But we all fall in life Alice.
Just remember,
that I will always be
there to pick you up again.
I know you miss them terribly.
You asked me earlier
whom I had lost.
How I wish that I could say
that I didn't know what you were
going through, but I lost
my mother at about your age.
It was a long, long time ago.
I said earlier you
had her courage.
Loving somebody deeply
gives you courage.
But being loved by somebody
deeply gives you strength.
It will always hurt,
but it will hurt less.
Does that make any sense?
- I think so.
- Would you like me
to read to you again?
Just until you fall asleep?
- Would you mind?
- Of course not,
you sweet child.
The only things in the
kitchen that did not sneeze
were the cook and a large cat,
which was sitting on
the hearth and grinning
from ear to ear.
"Please would you tell me",
said Alice a little timidly.
'Cause she was not quite sure
whether it was good manners
for her to speak first.
Why your cat grins like that?
- I'm sorry, could you
repeat the question?
- Tell me, Alice,
did you ever look at it from
a different perspective?
- It's just a dream.
It's just a dream.
You're dreaming.
I'm sorry.
Your scars.
How did you get them?
- That's what I
thought you meant.
But then you're not my
usual doctor, are you?
I thought what a funny
way of putting it.
My cat.
What a roundabout way to
ask me how I got them.
How I got to my scars.
The scars of a Cheshire cat.
- This is a safe space.
- Is it now?
Well, I suppose you
can't help that.
We're all mad here.
My markings.
That's the name the
press gave them.
Like him, they were
very unkind to me.
- To who?
Who were they unkind to?
- To the Walrus, of course,
perhaps that would've made
it all the more ironic
had I kept them.
- Kept what?
- My press cuttings.
- Do you feel like
talking about them today?
- About what?
About what you call my crimes.
- What would you call them?
- Art.
- Art?
- Art.
- You call scarring
the faces of families,
men, women and children.
You call that art.
- Every cat burglar
needs a calling card.
- And you couldn't have
left the taps running?
- You are very attractive
for a psychotherapist.
I imagine that's very
dangerous for your clients.
- You did that to the
faces of your victims.
The victims of your crimes.
But who did that to you?
Who gave you the worst of them?
- You don't know what this is.
You don't know what she did.
You don't know it's her.
Do you?
- Who?
What are you talking about?
- Oh, I dare not say her name.
In case she can hear.
She's everywhere, in the walls.
Can't you hear them singing?
- Like I said, this
is a safe space.
- The Red Queen.
You want me to show
you how she did it?
- Excuse me?
- At last, we meet.
Life is all about
meetings and partings.
That is the way of it, Alice.
Would you like to play a game?
I like games.
They teach you all manner of
lessons about consequences,
about loss, about
knowing your opponent.
It is better to weigh the enemy
more mighty than it seems.
Would you like to deal seeing
as you are such a master?
Are we ready to begin?
Are you wondering why I did it?
- Did what?
- The Cheshire Ripper.
Why I gave her her scars.
Have you met her?
- I did.
- Gruesome, isn't she?
Oh, but she makes no
sense at all anymore.
I think she's totally insane.
Talks nothing but nonsense.
- You may call it nonsense,
but I've heard nonsense
and compared with which
it would be as sensible
as a dictionary.
- How profound.
This is it, you know.
The dream, you
won't wake up from.
Here, now you see it
needs all the running
you can do just to
stay in one place.
If you want to run
somewhere else,
you'll have to go
twice as fast as that.
- I already did.
- What have you done?
- I won.
- No, no.
Nobody beats the Red Queen.
You don't understand.
Nobody beats the Red Queen.
- Your hair wants cutting.
- Does it?
I quite like it long.
- Well, you know best, my dear.
You know best.
Come, sit.
Sit before your tea gets cold.
- Who are you?
I'm Alice.
- Well, of course you are.
And I am the Mad Hatter.
- Goodness.
Why do they call you that?
- Because I'm actually
quite, quite mad!
- You really don't need
to be quite so angry,
after all, it's
such a lovely day.
Look, what a wonderful
spread you've prepared.
I don't think I've ever seen
such a beautiful tea party.
- Yes.
You're so right.
I'm sorry for my outburst.
It's just well,
sometimes I... I get
these dark thoughts.
Very, very dark thoughts.
What about you, Alice?
Do you get them too?
- Yes.
I think we all do.
- About your parents.
- How did you know that?
- I can see it in your eyes.
She says it's courage.
But all I see is grief.
That's what brought us all here.
The Rabbit, the Walrus,
Tallulah and Tara.
Even the Cheshire Ripper.
Grief is what brought us
all here to Wonderland.
- What about the Red Queen?
- The Red Queen is grief.
She feeds on it.
- What do you mean?
- Shh.
It's a secret.
She told me not to tell you.
- I think you should drink
your tea before it gets cold.
- Everybody's watching.
- Are you okay?
- I do feel a bit
curiouser and curiouser.
She loves me.
She loves me not.
It's too funny.
- What is it?
You can tell me.
I have dark thoughts
too, remember.
- What she's been
putting in your tea.
Wake up Alice.
I said, wake up Alice.
Wake up Alice!
- Alice.
- Tara?
No, I'm Tallulah.
- Don't.
- Don't what?
- Don't look over there.
- You have to leave.
If either of them
discover us here,
it would be quite fatal.
One can only learn
so much and live.
Live Alice, live.
- But I feel so sick.
- Remember what she said?
- But I don't feel
like that now.
I feel so sick.
That was yesterday.
Look, it's no use going
back to yesterday,
because yesterday you
were a different person.
- You know.
- I know.
- How did you figure it out?
- When I used to
read fairy tales,
I fancied that kind of
thing never happened.
Now, here I am in
the middle of one.
- "Drink Me."
I hope you understand
why I had to do it.
This house means
everything to my family.
- Beth Crimesly.
- The Red Queen.
- A house is more than
bricks and mortar.
Without a family, a house
is just a cold, empty shell.
- You are wrong.
- No, I'm not gran.
- Can't you hear the walls?
They're talking to me, singing
to me about its histories.
Its stories.
I had to save her.
- Do you really believe that?
- Sometimes I believe more
than six impossible things
before breakfast.
That's why I had to poison you.
- Why?
I want to hear you say it,
I need to hear you say it.
- For the money.
It was always supposed
to be mine, not yours.
You were supposed to
die in that fire too.
- You weren't hard to
find at all, were you?
That's not why it took the
lawyers so long to find you.
You were hiding.
It was you who started the
fire, for my inheritance.
- Like I said, I refuse
to lose this house.
It wasn't my fault that
Henry gambled it all away,
the money.
I mean, how was I
supposed to know?
- So you murdered
your own daughter.
You killed my parents, and you
tried to kill me for money.
- Not for the money.
You stupid, stupid
girl, for Wonderland.
- What?
- The final game.
But this time you get to
choose the game, Alice.
- Rummy.
- What?
- Rummy.
- Ah, rummy.
- What are we playing for?
- The final fatal dose.
The final curtain,
good night, Vienna.
I'm sorry it had to
come to this Alice.
After all you are
my flesh and blood,
but every game has
to come to an end.
No, no, not now.
- What happens now?
- We drink a toast
to the winner.
Come on, drink up Alice.
Don't be a sore loser.
- I am so sorry.
You made me do it.
- It's all about
sleight of hand.
Get down.
- The long grass
rustled at her feet
as the white rabbit hurried by.
The frightened mouse
splashed his way
through the neighboring pool.
She could hear the rattle of
the teacups as the March Hare
and his friends shared
their never ending meal
and the shrill
voice of the queen
ordering off her unfortunate
guests to execution.
So she sat on with closed
eyes and half believed herself
in Wonderland, though
she knew she had,
but to open them again and all
would change to dull reality.
The grass would be rustling
in the wind and the pool
rippling to the
waving of the weeds.
The rattling teacups would
change to tinkling sheep bells
and the queens shrill cries.
Lastly, she pictured to herself
how the same little
sister of hers
would in the
aftertime be herself,
a grown woman and
how she would keep
through all her riper years,
the simple and loving
heart of her childhood,
and how she would gather about
her other little children
and make their eyes
bright and eager
with many a strange tale.
Perhaps even with the dream
of Wonderland of long ago.
And how she would feel with
all their simple sorrows
and find a pleasure in
all their simple joys.
Remembering her own child life
and the happy summer days.
- Shh.
- Child of the
pure unclouded brow,
and dreaming eyes of wonder.
Though time be
fleet, and I and thou
are half a life asunder,
thy loving smile
will surely hail
the love-gift of a fairy-tale.
I have not seen thy sunny face,
nor heard thy silver laughter,
no thought of me
shall find a place
in thy young life's hereafter.
Enough that now
thou wilt not fail
to listen to my fairy-tale.
A tale begun in other days,
when summer suns were glowing.
A simple chime,
that served to time
the rhythm of our rowing,
whose echoes live in memory yet,
though envious years
would say forget.
Come, hearken then,
ere voice of dread,
with bitter tidings laden,
shall summon to unwelcome bed
a melancholy maiden.
We are but older children, dear,
who fret to find
our bedtime near
without the frost,
the blinding snow,
the storm-wind's moody madness.
Within, the
firelight's ruddy glow,
the childhood's
nest of gladness.
The magic words
shall hold thee fast,
thou shalt not heed
the raving blast.
And though the shadow of a sigh
may tremble through the story,
for happy summer glory.
It shall not touch
with breath of bale
the pleasance of our fairy-tale.