‘What are you running from?’
Alone is a 2020 American thriller feature film about a recently widowed traveller in the Pacific Northwest who is kidnapped by a killer. Managing to escape into the wilderness, she is forced to battle against the elements as her pursuer closes in on her… Will she be able to make it out alive?
Directed by John Hyams (One Dog Day; Universal Soldier: Regeneration, Dragon Eyes, Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning) from a screenplay written by Mattias Olsson (based on his 2011 Swedish film Gone), the Mill House Motion Pictures-Paperclip Limited movie stars Jules Willcox (10,000 Days), Marc Menchaca, Anthony Heald and Jonathan Rosenthal.
Alone premiered at the Mammoth Film Festival on March 1, 2020. Magnolia Pictures will release the film in select US movie houses and on VOD on September 18, 2020.
” …it’s appropriate to give props to the screenwriter, Mattias Olsson, who subverts our assumptions about victim and offender and really puts his own spin on our expectations. Everyone involved in the film is pushing hard, which is what elevates Alone from being just another girl-being-chased thriller on the shelf to something I think genre fans should actually seek out.” Assholes Watching Movies
“Hyams knows how to draw tension, escalate it, and keep things moving at a brisk pace. But his work is shackled by a familiar, barebones script that ultimately feels incomplete. What’s meant to be Jessica overcoming her grief through a harrowing baptism by fire instead becomes hollow happenstance.” Bloody Disgusting
“Alone is equal parts terrifying and empowering. You can’t help but root for our heroine and our villain sends shivers down the spine. It’s a perfect combo of great characters, expertly portrayed, in a tense, heart-pounding thrill ride. I can’t recommend it enough!” Daily Dead
” …Hyams and company pretty honest with the audience rather than going for fake-outs or tricky cutting with time, and for the most part, the violence feels real and damaging, though things get a little iffy toward the end, suggesting dire consequences but dragging things out past that. Still, it mostly works.” eFilmCritic
“Through canny blocking and framing, Hyams manipulates perspective to create claustrophobic, almost clinical enclosures. Even the relatively benign forest location takes on a patina of horrific possibilities. Tense and suspenseful, Alone is a stunning film, triumphant in a way that only few genre films can manage.” In Review Online
“Unfortunately whilst Alone has some fantastic aspects to it, especially in terms of visuals and performances, it is let down by the all-too-familiar plotting. We know where this is going from the get-go, there’s no surprises in terms of what ultimately happens; we’ve seen these types of films before and we know what to expect… yet despite all that, the journey is honestly well worth it.” Nerdly
“Alone presents a familiar premise and contains tropes that are common with the genre. You could say, “Of course there’s bad cell reception,” or, “Of course the white girl trips.” But the film is a pleasant surprise, with great performances and creative use of cinematography and sound that makes it feel a little different.” Next Best Picture
“Hyams’ impossibly lean survival thriller is a triumph of cinematic craft and streamlined storytelling. A bare-bones masterpiece of unrelenting suspense, in a microcosm of primal savagery where every decision matters and every mistake potentially fatal. This stripped-back methodology echoes the finest work of Walter Hill and John Boorman whilst executing a coldly modernist take on the minimalist thriller.” The People’s Movies
” …by the time the film has reached its final, feral showdown in what a subtitle tells us is ‘ the clearing’ (a term that doubles its duty in referring to an inner catharsis as much as a geographical space), we know that we are witnessing not just a climactic battle between murderous assailant and final girl, but also a particularly intense form of primal therapy. Reborn as a creature of primeval mud and blood, Jessica is done.” Projected Visions
“It’s tightly directed, well-acted, and has a terrific gotcha of an ending. But it also has a by-the-numbers plot that is neither original nor surprising. In addition, it occasionally has the protagonist do things that are physically impossible, like drive for over 24 hours without leaving the Pacific Northwest.” Reelist
“Willcox does a pretty good job of getting us into the fragile mindset of Jessica, and later, the determination that she shows in trying to get out of the situation she finds her in. Unfortunately, the film has deteriorated into a typical suspense thriller battle-of-wills between Jessica and her attacker by the time the film reaches its conclusion and loses any interest in keeping the film grounded in Jessica’s experience.” Sonic Cinema
“This is a grim tale only somewhat leavened by the verdant natural beauty of settings well-captured (often in striking overhead shots) by DP Federico Verardi’s widescreen lensing. Those who can take the punishment, however, will be rewarded by a payoff with considerable satisfaction of the schadenfreude type.” Variety
“Where the script falls short on characterization it, and Hyams’ direction, wring maximum suspense and action out of the situation […] Mention should be made of Federico Verardi’s cinematography. He does a great job of making the forest look both beautiful and menacing. He also makes it vast or claustrophobic as needed.” Voices from the Balcony
Alone is undoubtedly well-filmed, often stunningly so, and yet it’s a protractedly painfully simple scenario. There is a moustachioed male sexist moron hunting down a woman in the wilderness. And that’s it for 98 minutes. There are great performances, for sure. But beyond the superb forest scenery, there isn’t enough to sustain interest for the running time.
Adrian J Smith, MOVIES and MANIA
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Cast and characters:
Jules Willcox … Jessica
Marc Menchaca … Man
Anthony Heald … Robert
Jonathan Rosenthal … Eric
Max Huskins … Bus Passenger
Laura Duyn … 911 Operator (voice)
Nico Floresca … Little Girl (voice)
Shelly Lipkin … Jessica’s Dad (voice)
Brenton Montgomery … 911 Operator (voice)
Betty Moyer … Jessica’s Mom (voice)
Katie O’Grady … Officer (voice)
Emily Sahler … Catherine (voice)
Not to be confused with other films of the same name such as Alone (2020) directed by Vladislav Khesin and starring Elizabeth Arends or Alone (2020) directed by Johnny Martin and starring Tyler Posey. Filmmakers really ought to come up with more distinct titles for their movies.