Alone is certainly an on-the-nose description of director John Hyams’s latest film, with virtually no dialogue in the opening scenes and the protagonist’s first real interaction taking place 14 minutes in. A remake of producer Henrik JP Åkesson and writer Mattias Olsson’s 2011 Swedish film Försvunnen, the horror flick follows recently widowed Jessica Swanson (Jules Willcox), as she makes the ill-advised decision to move from her home on a solo trip. Jessica becomes quite rightly convinced that she’s being followed, after several increasingly strange encounters with a mysterious man (Marc Menchaca). When her car breaks down in the middle of the night, she’s captured and brutally beaten by the unknown stalker, eventually waking up in an empty basement sometime after the attack. What follows next is a tense cat-and-mouse game, set against the backdrop of a vast and desolate wilderness, that will leave filmgoers eagerly rooting Jessica’s survival.
With no elaborate script, extravagant set or swelling score to fall back on, Alone relies largely on the performances of its two main stars, who are certainly up to the task. Menchaca is convincing as the unhinged and nameless villain (simply referred to as “Man” in the credits), effortlessly transforming from unassuming, albeit peculiar, stranger, to deranged stalker. Hyams thankfully abandons the damsel-in-distress trope, with Jessica quite literally fighting for her life while making smart decisions to protect herself; the character’s actions root the film in a realism not always seen in the genre. Willcox is a highlight and perfectly portrays the fear, strength and sheer resilience of a woman fighting for survival.
With an anticlimactic finale, a plot that hardly breaks new ground and no real subtext, the Alone is far from perfect, but ultimately it delivers, with genuinely suspenseful moments and an untraditional take on a female horror lead. Though it is borderline formulaic in its plot, this thriller undoubtedly delivers just enough suspense to keep audiences along for the ride.
Alone is released digitally on demand on 28th December 2020.
Watch the trailer for Alone here: