Review by James Lindorf
Whether they are big or small, it is impossible to outrun your problems when they are in your head or your heart. ““Alone”” stars Jules Willcox (Bloodline) as Jessica, a grief-stricken widow fleeing the city and anything that reminders her of her husband. During the trip to her new home, Jessica has a chance encounter with another motorist who will forever change her life. When that mysterious Man kidnaps and locks her in his basement, Jessica will have to push past every limit she thought she had to survive. Joining Wilcox in John Hyams (All Square) latest feature film is Marc Menchaca (Ozark) and Anthony Heald (The Silence of the Lambs). Magnet Releasing will ““Alone”” to theaters and On-Demand platforms on September 18th, 2020.
Mattias Olsson’s script is light on plot and instead focusses heavily on often unspoken emotions and Jessica’s fight for survival. Jessica is a sympathetic but not entirely likable character. When you are dealing with a loss like the one she suffered, you are allowed to be a bit temperamental. If this was Jessica vs. the PTA or a noisy neighbor, I might not have been on her side. Since it is her vs. a deranged psychopath with great luck, sympathy, and empathy dictate that you must be on her side. Jessica isn’t an iconic role that will be held up in the annals of feminist history. Still, Jules Willcox gives a strong performance perfectly encompassing the phoenix-like evolution of Jessica.
“Listen and understand. That terminator is out there. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear, and it absolutely will not stop. Ever. Until you are dead.” This famous Kyle Reese quote from the first Terminator film is a perfect description of Marc Menchaca’s villainous character in “Alone”. Much like the Terminator or Jason Vorhees, the Man is unrelenting and always shows up when you least expect him. His ability to find her borders on omnipotence. He can only track her down so quickly because the script says so, even though Jessica should have been free of him at least three different times. His motivations are unknown and mostly unimportant because surviving him is more important than understanding him.
Cinematographer Federico Verardi beautifully highlights the vastness of the northwestern pacific forest where Jessica finds herself lost. He manages to make the forest feel unique as she moves from area to area crossing hundreds of acres of woodland. A special shout out must be given to Tyler Boggs and James Pendleton, who were responsible for the film’s special effects. There is a moment when Jessica is running through the woods and gets impaled by a stick. The effect is beautifully done to the point that I am not sure if they used a fake limb or had their edges so perfectly blended. I couldn’t tell where she ended, and the prosthetic began. It may be the single most effective and well don’t practical effect I have seen in a low budget movie in the last couple of years.
“Alone” is a solid directing outing for Hyams, who could jump from mid-level television to film. It has its faults, but I think women who think back to every random guy that crossed their path and who could have been this crazy and this determined could find something special in these 98 minutes.
Rating: NR (for violent content and language)
Genre: Mystery & Suspense
Directed By: John Hyams
Written By: Mattias Olsson
In Theaters: Sep 18, 2020 Limited
On Disc/Streaming: Sep 18, 2020
Runtime: 98 minutes
Studio: Magnet Releasing
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