Alone waste no time getting you on the edge of your seat, but neglects its central characters. This is the latest film to keep things short, simple, and straight forward. This formula will have you engaged throughout its short runtime, as you watch two people try to outsmart each other.
Similar to Unhinged, this film gives us a sympathetic lead who is going through a hard time, and a bonkers antagonist who wants to make it worse. Alone will create fear for those who can relate to this situation, or many who fear this happening to them during a quiet getaway. Directed by John Hyams and written by Mattias Olsson, the film stars Jules Willcox, Anthony Heald, Jonathan Rosenthal, and Marc Menchaca. Alone centers on Jessica (Willcox), a recent widow who is kidnapped during a solitary trip by a killer. Upon escaping, she is forced to use the surrounding wilderness to find safety.
Placing a widow at the center of your narrative will instantly give viewers a reason to get behind Jessica. She is struggling to cope with her husbands death, has issues in her family, and just wants to be happy again. The script gives us enough details to understand her situation, so audiences will feel for the character. Her abductor, simply called Man (Menchaca), approaches her car after a mild road incident. At first, he is very calm and friendly, then Jessica’s attitude towards him changes once she notices he is following her.
From there, Alone transforms into a thrilling survival adventure. The film takes place mostly in the woods, so for Jessica this a very frightening position since she has no knowledge of her surroundings. Willcox gives a terrific performance, and so does Menchaca. Menchaca is the standout here, as he chillingly transitions from this nice stranger into a complete psychopath. In fact, he does it quite often in the film to throw off individuals Jessica reaches out to for help. His ability to shift gears like that in the role is something that has to be recognized.
As mentioned, the characters are well acted, but they are pretty bland otherwise. Again, there’s enough given to sympathize with Jessica, but not enough to care what happens to her. Alone‘s pacing will cause a few rapid heartbeats, though it’s quick pacing leaves little room to become invested in the victim or the abductor. Also, there’s no progression of Jessica’s character since she is still stuck with her grief in the end. Still, Hyams does such a great job building the tension, suspense, and makes this plausible scenario entertaining to sit through. He took a simple premise and cooked up a survival horror that many will enjoy.
The way certain scenes are shot in order to show just how out of her element Jessica is, make the film much scarier. Behind all of its tension, Alone features a heart pounding score by Nima Fakhrara. This helps intensify the dangerous situation our protagonist finds herself in. At its core, Alone is just a another survival horror film with no point to it, but it may make several viewers reconsider going on vacation by themselves next time.
Alone is a straight forward film that wants to make your heart race for over an hour. Luckily, this simple premise is brought to life in a very familiar but solid way. Going on road trips can certainly be scary, so this premise will strike fear in many. Overall, its a decent indie treat that follows similar beats to films that came before it, but still manages to immerse you in its narrative.