Alp is a directorial debut for Juan Salas so I suppose that I should not be as hard on it as a work by a seasoned professional. Keeping that in mind, Alp is still a production that looks and feels as though it is made by amateurs who have maybe just made it through the first year of a film school program. Most obviously, the film suffers from non-professional photography (the film has no credit for director of photography) where it often appears that Juan Salas is shooting using natural lighting. The acting often feels as though it has been conducted by non-professionals, the most notable offender here being W.M. Bacon as the psychologist.
Alp picks up the sleep paralysis theme but promptly lets it drop like a hot potato. It does almost nothing with it we get a few scenes with Yusef Abdur Razzaaq lying in bed seeing a shadowy figure enter the room but this proves of little relevance to anything else that happens. The film appropriates the idea of an Alp from German folklore, a figure that appears and manipulates peoples dreams. (Traditionally, the Alp is not regarded as a demon, rather its name is believed to be a corrupted form of elf. The other oddity is that the Alp always appears wearing a hat, something it never does here). What we end up with feels like a bad 1980s A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) copy. The one effective scene we have is where Yusef Abdur Razzaaq and Vanessa Ander leave the house and return home only for Ander to tell Razzaaq some ten minutes of screentime later that he is still dreaming and that they havent left the house. This puts the film in an interesting state of rubber reality where you are not entirely sure whether they did leave or the subsequent events are a dream. However, the very next scenes show Razzaaq still in a dream and weaken this sense of eerie disconnect.
The film reaches an end that only leaves you confused. [PLOT SPOILERS] This leaves a number of plot strands open like, for example, how the latter half of the film has Razzaaqs brother Adrian Lockett and his girlfriend Lauren Brittany tied up in a cellar but at the end we are just supposed to forget about them. The end also leaves us confused about whether Razzaaq is a killer or not.
I also have to take issue with the portrayal of W.M. Bacons psychologist. He not only breaks patient confidentiality with two people but also prepares to commit Yusef Abdur Razzaaq to a psychiatric institution the moment he starts talking about the existence of demons. Surely, if believing in the existence of demons was cause to be committed, then the halls of mental hospitals would be filled with evangelical Christians.