‘Ever have the feeling that…’
You’re Not Alone is a 2017 American horror feature film about evilness that begins to torment a mother and daughter; they are then forced to face the inexplicable presence that inhabits the walls of their new home.
Directed and edited by Eduardo Rodriguez (The Darkness of the Road; Earthless; Fright Night 2) from a screenplay written by Andrew Wong, the Vital Pictures movie stars Katia Winter (L.V.J.; The Wave; Banshee Chapter; The Seer), Julee Cerda, Zach Avery (Last Moment of Clarity; Trespassers; Curvature) and Bettina Skye.
After the premature death of her estranged husband, Emma regains custody of their young daughter Isla and hopes to rebuild their relationship after many years apart.
However, when an evil entity begins to torment them, mother and daughter are forced to face the inexplicable presence that inhabits the walls of their new home…
From its suicide-themed opening scene right up to its edge-of-seat finale, You’re Not Alone is a gripping journey into parental turmoil and homely terror. Following the premature death of father Patrick, there is palpable and understandable tension between former suicidal mother Emma and her estranged young daughter Isla (who initially refuses to even eat).
This obvious awkwardness is gradually and heartbreakingly explored via scenes that some would rather gratingly be described as a ‘slow-burn’ when in fact it’s just building the background to the scenario that unfolds. There are flashbacks to Emma’s former relationship with Patrick and the “dead guy’s house” that she has inherited which need to be there. Thematically, running water and suicide continue as we witness the continued development of a fraught mother and daughter relationship that’s quite touching. Emma’s gothy friend Ashley explains that “parenthood completely changes you. That kinda having a kid puts your life in a perspective.” Then, the scary sh*t kicks in.
As things at the house – and also at school and Emma’s work (because the malevolence knows no bounds) – start to become tense it’s not clear whether there is a supernatural presence or the manifestations of evil are the paranormal outpouring of young Emma’s angst. A slimy and pushy former admirer of Emma named Mark also appears on the scene and it’s not long before his helpfulness becomes a serious (ahem) hindrance. Emma’s brief turn to faith-based help also highlights the awfulness of unwilling and scared kids being baptised by being dunked in water by the controlling church whilst seemingly proud parents and the congregation celebrate such barbarism (religious mania also comes into play later).
To say any more would seriously destroy any of the plot developments that occur so let’s focus on the fact that You’re Not Alone is a welcome creepy house horror movie that pulls the viewers’ expectations out from under the proverbial rug. Sure, there are the usual tropes that cats are both cute and scary and a nosey neighbour meets their end but it works and it is professionally shot and edited by Eduardo Rodriguez with splendid sound and a suitably doom-laden score by Luis Ascanio (Fright Night 2). The increasing relationship between mother Emma and her offspring Isla is what makes this work so kudos to scripter Andrew Wong.
This reviewer is not a huge fan of supernatural shenanigans in dimly-lit houses that hold a dark secret, however, this movie really is a notch above most of that ilk. The ultimate reveal will doubtless faze many viewers and this perhaps explains why it has remained unreleased since 2017. However, for those who are prepared to go with the flow, You’re Not Alone has depth and its genuine surprises are welcome.
Adrian J Smith, MOVIES and MANIA
“From a technical standpoint, the film certainly is well done, the cinematography and score manage to make a very ordinary suburban house feel creepy on more than one occasion. The acting from Winter and Catlett is also excellent, which makes it easier to overlook the script’s flaws. In the end, You’re Not Alone is a well-made film with some good moments. It just can’t overcome a weak and predictable script.” Voices from the Balcony
Cast and characters:
Katia Winter … Emma
Leya Catlett … Isla (as Ashley Jones)
Zach Avery … Mark
Emmy James … Ashley
Lane Bradbury … Mrs Willis
Richard Bekins … Father Walsh
Jerry Dixon … Doctor Henderson
Marceline Hugot … Lilith
Patrick Hamilton … Patrick
Yaron Urbas … Manager
Tobee Paik … Co-Worker
Chad Gittens … Male Cop
Martin Barabas … Lawyer
Brian William Mendes … Officer
Meredith Handerhan … Customer
Whitney Andrews … Cop
Mike Cannon … Ashley’s Friend
Julee Cerda … Teacher
Bettina Skye … Assistant to Father Walsh
Sandra Lucas … Receptionist
Thomas J. O’Brien … Forensic Scientist (as Tom Obrien)
Edward Crawford … Hooded man 2
Goshen, New York
Should not be confused with You Are Not Alone, the 2014 movie written and directed by Derek Mungor.