AW Kautzer's Film Review Fantasia Film Fest Film

Alone – Fantasia Film Festival 2020


Alone is a standard-issue escape from a serial killer in the woods film.  

There is much to be said about the professionalism and craftsmanship on display in Alone.  But if you’re looking for something original or to subvert the genre convention you will have to look elsewhere. 

Jessica (Jules Willcox) has packed her things and is off to start a new life after a tragedy has befallen her.  Of course, she’s not told her mom, dad, or any friends where she’s going.  The trauma too much to bear.  That’s a big mistake in horror films 101.  Jessica is literally putting a sign on the back of her Volvo that says “serial killer victim”.  Sure, as there’s rain in the Pacific Northwest, our heroine is kidnapped by a flannel-wearing psychopath. If we’ve learned anything from horror films it’s that you can’t keep a final girl contained.  

The film is handsomely photographed, directed, and produced.  There’s a glossy feel that we rarely get in these lower budgeted films that are definitely to be appreciated.  Director John Hyams’ work in the B-Grade action market has helped with the way that the film feels and looks polished.  His direction gives this film a sense of urgency and geography that many films lack nowadays.  

Hyam’s direction is overshadowed by the fact that the story and script by Matthias Olsson are paint-by-numbers.  There is no sense of invention or enthusiasm.  The script is a well-oiled machine of well-worn plot points making it to the final bloody (and very well-executed) third act climax.  Which makes an all-too-brief but great appearance by Anthony Heald such a disappointment as we can see the purpose of his character a mile away.  

Alone is for the horror novices.  If you’ve seen your fair share of the Red Riding Hood story convention you may want to look elsewhere.  Though if you are in the mood for a slickly made horror films.  You could do a lot worse.  

Alone plays Fantasia August 27th and is being released by Magnolia later in the Fall