Alone Movie Review
The scary thing about Alone is that it could happen. To you. To me. But probably more likely you.
Director John Hyams delivers a chilling 95 minutes of realistic terror in this quaint horror movie, one that both benefits from its frankness--and is limited by it. Hyams shrugs away much of the genre’s ol’ reliables--sensational music, loud sounds, and style--to give us something much more honest… but Alone could have benefited from just a bit more music, sound, and certainly style.
Jules Willcox plays Jessica, a widow seeking a fresh start who gets more than she bargained for. A chance encounter with a man finds her kidnapped and fighting for her life in the Pacific Northwest woods.
Willcox delivers a gritty and straightforward performance, one well-suited for the type of film at hand. She isn’t quite your typical horror protagonist, but something better: she’s just like you. Or me. But probably more likely you. She’s your friend or your girlfriend or your wife, a normal woman who crosses paths with the wrong guy. You know it could happen, and Wilcox acts accordingly. Her Jessica is a smart but not perfect heroine; she makes mistakes, but not the kind of cheesy horror mistakes you’d expect. It’s a great performance.
The unnamed man, played by Marc Menchaca, is equally well-suited for his role. He, too, is just another guy. No scars. No menacing stares or gravelly voice or inclinations toward dark monologues. He is that guy who could walk by you at any given moment and you wouldn’t give him a second glance. You know, as well as I, that in the real world, these are who the real creepers are. The real killers. The real dangers. Menchaca embodies this mold perfectly.
Alone works thanks to the performances and realistic framing of the story, though Hyams’ matter-of-fact approach also keeps it from truly memorable territory. While suspenseful, Alone never quite achieves riveting status; it has a heartbeat, but not enough of a pulse. A little more attention to the filmmaking aspects of the production would have gone a long way. There’s wasted potential here.
Alone is a good-but-not-great little horror movie that thrives on a simple fact: this could happen to you. Or me. But almost most assuredly you.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.