There are horror movies, which can be scary but hardly lasting. They might give you a few jolts or even make you check twice in your closet for a night, but stories of serial killers and monsters and psychotic families of murderers hardly hit home for most people. Then there are thrillers. They may not have much action, but there is something about them that is just creepy, especially the thrillers that are realistic enough that you can believe this could happen to you. Alone with Her is such a film.
Alone with Her stars Ana Claudia Talancón (recently seen in Fast Food Nation) as Amy, a young and beautiful Mexican-American woman who lives alone with her dog. Visited by her friend Jennifer (Jordana Spior) and a coworker-turned-potential-lover Matt (Jonathon Trent), she goes about her life just like any other woman would, doing her dishes, walking her dog, going to the bathroom, sleeping and talking on the phone. As with anyone in the confines of her own home, she spills her deepest secrets and interests to her friends. She plays her favorite music. She watches her favorite movies. Enter Doug (Colin Hanks), a socially reserved but otherwise nice guy who seems to have all of the same interests as Amy. They strike up a friendship, and while she isn't interested in him romantically, he is into her, and despite her belief that he is nothing more than friends, he continues to save her or pull her out of jams or do things for her that make him hard to resist. Of course, what she doesn't know is that he has been watching her on camera for months and has loaded her apartment with video and audio devices so that he can watch her day and night.
Alone with Her is startling on many levels, the first being that this could really happen. While hopefully this isn't a common occurrence, with today's technology it wouldn't be hard for even an amateur to break into someone's house, add a bunch of cameras and keep an eye on you day in and day out. The plot is so simple but so exacting - it is about a man who spies on a woman to wiggle his way into her life. Despite all the warning signs, he seems nice enough, and who would suspect that the reason he is always on cue is because he has been watching you?
Secondly, the big catch that makes this film so engaging to the audience is the fact that the whole movie is filmed from the perspective of Doug's many voyeuristic cameras. Doug is only seen on camera when he is in Amy's apartment, and you really do see this woman through the eyes of a voyeur. It's creepy as hell.
And third, writer/director Eric Nicholas has done a stupendous job of slowing mounting the tension and intensity to a masterful climax. You don't quite know what's going to happen, but you know it's not going to be good and that Doug isn't just going to go away. While the whole movie is creepy, the movie builds from a standard drama to a tense thriller as Doug becomes more engrained in Amy's life, and in turn Amy begins to see more of Doug's persona. As nice as he may be, his awkwardness shows - don't tell me you've never met someone like this before and shrugged them off as being just the weird nice guy? I'm not saying most weird nice guys are voyeurs or sexual deviants or anything of the such, but it is definitely true that people will disregard warning bells until they see evidence first hand.
Alone with Her is an excellent little film. Its premise is simple, but thanks to the decision to show everything through the eye/lense of the voyeur, Nicholas has devised a wonderful little film that will creep you out. The two stars are also very good in their respective roles. Alone with Her is highly recommended.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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