Alone (2020)
★ / ★★★★

There comes a point in “Alone” when it stops being about survival and it becomes about dating. By then it is crystal clear: It is a movie made for Tyler Posey fans who thirst to see him in various states of undress—lying in bed, hanging out in the living room, taking a shower in the rain—not for horror fans who wish to lay eyes on gore by the bucketloads and appreciate intricate cosmetics, to experience carefully calibrated suspense and jump-out-of-your-seat terror, to get excited by the dazzling creativity sashaying on screen. It cannot be denied that this is a toothless and boring zombie picture, a manufactured product to be avoided at all cost.

Consider it to be an American version of Cho Il-hyung’s “#Alive” in which Matt Naylor, the writer of this film, had a hand in helming the screenplay. The parallels between Cho and director Johnny Martin’s films are staggering. A young man finds himself stuck in an apartment following a mysterious outbreak that turns people into hyperactive cannibals. (Translation: modern zombies that can sprint and climb.) When food, water, and his sanity run out, the protagonist finds a last-minute reason to live after seeing a fellow young woman in an apartment right across his balcony. But what “#Alive” excels in, even though it is not a consistently strong picture, is that it maintains the idea that it is first and foremost a survival story. This American version not only winks one too many times, it makes kissy faces, too. Want a selfie with that?

At some point, we are supposed to believe that Aidan (Posey) is so desperate for food that he chooses to break into a neighboring apartment despite the dangers possibly waiting in the vents and hallways. But when finally facing a cupboard that contains food, he takes the time to pick and choose which ones to take with him. It defies common sense. To be convinced that Aidan were actually starving, he would not be shown reaching ever so slowly into the cupboard with his gentle hands. The hands would be manic, out of control, as if possessed by an evil spirit wanting to lash out. Aidan would be shown breaking into plastic wrappers with his teeth like a rabid dog.

The editing would be convulsive, possibly choppy, as if to reflect a reawakening of all senses. The sound design would jolt us into paying attention—perhaps causing us to flinch because the noise may attract the attention of the undead lumbering about on the other side of the wall. Close-ups of our protagonist’s demented eyes would be prevalent—reminiscent of red zombie eyes when their teeth sink deep into warm human flesh. Sharp filmmakers with coy sense of humor might even wish for us to appreciate the orgasm a character experiences after licking a scoop of peanut butter off his unwashed fingers.

But that would look “ugly,” you see, unappealing—perhaps even gauche or inelegant—in the eyes Posey fans. He must look handsome even when his character has not had anything to eat for days, drinking only alcohol for a similar amount of time because tap water had been shut off.

Common sense is a funny thing in horror films. When a horror picture is firing on all cylinders, the occasional lack of this critical element can be overlooked so easily. But when the work is dead awful, as the case here, the viewer cannot help but to nitpick at every little thing. This is what unbearable boredom does; attention must be directed toward something because the brain is not meant to shut down. This movie strives to turn off the very thing that keeps us alive. Do not let it.

3 replies »

  1. i actually just watched another movie that not only has the same title as this, but was released the same year. A pet peeve of mine are movies that have the same title; once a title is used, RETIRE that title and come up with something else! I hate recommending films, but then having to specify which film of the same title I am referring to b/c it can confuse people at times. “Inside” and “Hush” are two of my favorite horror films, but when I recommend them I always have to provide extra details which film I’m recommending so they don’t get mixed-up with other movies titled “Inside” or “Hush”…

    When I first saw this post I thought “I don’t remember this guy anywhere in the movie” and then realized this was just another movie titled “Alone” and if that’s not confusing enough, both films came out in the same year; how lazy is that!? So, now I can’t even say “Check out the one made in 2020” b/c they BOTH are. lol.

    But I did want to say the “Alone” I watched was actually really good, and I recommend for you. Much like in “Hush” the protagonist makes pretty smart decisions for the most part, which always makes a thriller much better. How frustrating is it to see people being hunted by killers making idiotic after idiotic decision; it ruins many horror movies.

    Anyway, the version I am recommending is directed by John Hyams, and is about a woman being stalked by a wacko in the woods; hey how about that for a title? “Wacko in the Woods” LOL. Hey yo, you seen that crazy horror movie “Wacko in the Woods”? “Yeah man, that was scary af!” lol.

    • Hey, you know what? I think that’s a great title. Someone should pay you should that title be taken by a movie. “‘Wacko in the Woods’ out now.” I’m in.

      I know exactly which “Alone” you’re talking about because I had seen it and reviewed it prior this this “Alone” (aka “Pandemic). I have about 100 reviews unpublished. But yes, I plan on posting my review for that film soon. I definitely liked it better than this one. But I don’t think I liked it as much as you did… We’ll see. ;)

      • awesome, looking forward to it. I really liked the moment she was hiding in the closet as he was talking on his phone, and as soon as he cleared the room she zipped right out of the closet and ran straight out the front door…which is exactly what someone should do…

        In a lot of these movies the person would sit there and continue to sob after the killer left the room, and then run out once he came back in the room. lol.

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