film reel image

film reel image

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Alone 2020 * * * 1/2 Stars


"I think I'm being followed". Uh oh. I'm pretty sure I know what those words mean. 

Anyway, Jessica (played by Jules Willcox) is a widow who loads her stuff in a U-Haul and heads to an unknown destination. Along the way, she gradually gets tormented and kidnapped by a nameless psycho (played by Texan Marc Menchaca). That's the blueprinted rub of 2020's Alone. With ample enthusiasm and the need to write at 5 in the morning, it's my latest review.

So yeah, we've seen films like Alone before and its title, well it's not too thought out. Still, Alone is one of this year's best. Feeling like Spielberg's Duel in which the antagonist actually talks, Alone's setting of lush, wet Oregon takes over as it becomes a swallowing co-star.

The performances in Alone are as it seems, nerve-ending and calculated. Jules Willcox and Marc Menchaca share different sides of an acting coin. They exhibit decent vs. evil and damaged vs. non-empathetic. Menchaca reminded me of a mustached Jason Sudeikis while Willcox gave off a heroine, Winona Ryder type vibe. They are pretty much in every frame and carry Alone with superior aplomb.

Directed by John Hyams (son of veteran helmer Peter Hyams) and nifty and compact in its 98-minute running time, Alone keeps you on your toes with devised, inching tension. It's a thriller mind you and it's done with careful skill despite feeling a little familiar (pale, cold-blooded killer stalks vulnerable female). Hyams using rack focusing, low angles, and teeming overhead shots, actually outdoes his pops here. Confidently committing to every shot, he is aided by rich, forestry cinematography from the seasoned Federico Verardi.

Alone ends like other violent, heady rides but it doesn't cheat the audience. Every nuanced plot point, every grubby mano-a-mano, and every sense of foreboding shake up is assured. I hope I'm not "alone" in these inferences.

Written by Jesse Burleson 

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