Quickie Review: Here Alone
Here Alone arrived to Netflix recently and having seen a trailer a few short months ago, which I was very intrigued by, I streamed this as soon as I had a free night to spare. The film was interestingly a crowd funded effort and comes from Rod Blackhurst who directed the excellent documentary Amanda Knox and a few other shorts. Set in the all too familiar post apocalyptic version of our world this one had a sleeker look to it which set itself apart from the slew of B movie zombie flicks that have over taken the genre as of late, not unlike the hoards of undead they sometimes so poorly portray. We start off with our main protagonist Ann, wasting no time with delving into how she found herself as a survivalist in the first place, not yet at least. Instead we get a glimpse of her routine living alone in the wilderness as she covers herself in poop to ward off undead and attempts to get some supplies from a house near where she's camped. Things get hairy for a moment although we mainly only hear the threat rather than see it as Ann makes a break for the woods. You kind of get a sense that this more on the edge tone is going to be prominent over the run time however one would be all too quick to assume, as the preceding events slow things down quite a bit and keep it at a slower pace until the third act. However pretty and promisingly brutal this film may be from the trailer or the opening moments, much of it is devoted to fleshing out the central character Ann and how troubled surviving on her own has made her.
She meets a father and daughter early on and through her interactions with them we get to know a bit more about her. Paired with some flashbacks of her past we're given further insight into how she got where she is presently in the story. The flashbacks last through most of the film and can be a bit disjointed unless you're really paying attention, also for some reason I felt like certain qualities of the movie were stronger in it's present timeline than in the flashbacks, which made it harder for me to sympathize with Ann's backstory. Generally when flashbacks are used in films to catch the viewer up with the story they can either be done very well or very poorly, the use of them here was neither. For being a crowd funded film Here Alone has some good things going for it à la cinematography, sound design, practical effects and most of the performances however, it's pacing seems to hold it back from fully gaining traction with fans of the genre it's premise caters towards. Don't go in expecting a white knuckle, hordes of undead escapade, as this is more of a post apocalyptic drama. Perhaps a date night viewing is in order... the kind where you both seek comfort in knowing the characters lives in the movie are worse off than yours. For a horror movie that's a good thing right?