Here Alone (2017)
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Critic Reviews for Here Alone
Though there's not a whole lot of plot here, Ebeltoft makes a virtue of writing economy, and director Rod Blackhurt maintains considerable interest as well as a consistent low hum of tension.
Given the familiarity of its premise - a handful of survivors brave the aftermath of a deadly, rage-inducing virus - "Here Alone" is unexpectedly engaging.
As the flashbacks are dribbled out right up until the final scenes, we are asked to project ourselves back into behavior and decisions made by Ann as a result of her obvious trauma. The problem is that no such convergence exists.
Audience Reviews for Here Alone
I've always been critical of The Walking Dead for not being, to me, a particularly interesting show. At first, the show had some intrigue (from me) due to its approach. But once the show moved on onto its second and third seasons, I was just bored with its characters and most of the situations it presented. I realize that introducing human villains to the proceedings, while the zombie apocalypse is going on around them, gives the show more mileage. You can't have a zombie show where the heroes just fight zombies all the time, that would get tiresome and repetitive very quickly. So introducing these villains helps extend the show and you can, essentially, keep doing this until the end of time. The reason I bring this up in relevance to this movie is that it is, quite literally, almost impossible to find a new and different way to tell a story within this genre. And I'm not gonna say that this movie does that, I don't think it's gonna change how a lot of people view this genre with contempt. What this movie does differently than others is the fact that it focuses, almost entirely, on its characters and the dynamic between them. This woman, having lost her husband and daughter, lives alone out in this forest, where she does what she can to survive out in this world. What they, very cleverly, do is tease the zombies. Once, during a supply run, Ann (our protagonist) knocks over a trash can and, obviously, this draws the zombies. Ann, naturally, runs away desperately to avoid any problems. But, as Ann runs away, you don't get to see the zombies, you just get to hear their monstrous snarls getting closer and closer. I know some people, expecting a full-on zombie movie, will hate teasing the zombie horror so much, but I thought it worked. Because, quite frankly, the movie isn't about that, it's about the lead characters surviving this harsh, new world any way they can. Eventually, Ann comes across two other strangers (a teen girl and her stepdad) on the road, one of them injured. Ann decides to help them, despite being initially mistrustful of them. The film combines this with flashbacks of Ann's, seemingly, recent past when her husband and baby girl were alive and how she came to be alone. This is relevant because, in many ways, Ann blames herself for what happened to both her husband and her daughter, so being by herself is her own way to punish herself. And, at the same time, where she stays is the last remnants she has of her family, so she can't bring herself to leave this all behind. Her developing friendship with Chris and Olivia gives her a new chance to, maybe, atone for what she did. But, naturally, things don't always go perfectly. Olivia starts to resent Ann for what, she probably believes, to be Ann's attempt to replace her mother (whom Chris killed once she turned). Ann and Chris start getting closer and closer and Olivia starts to feel left out. In many ways Olivia is confused, because when Chris and Ann finally have sex, Olivia was preparing to seduce Chris herself. I honestly don't even think Olivia was attracted to Chris, it was more something where she felt like Chris was hers and hers alone. Seducing him was her attempt to 'keep' him as it were. I realize how this may sound, but it's not a 'catty' movie in the slightest. Olivia is just trying to keep her world intact and Ann coming into their lives shatters that world, or as much as it can be shattered considering that her mom was killed in front of her. It also leads Olivia to betraying Ann during a supply run and leaving her for the zombies to kill. This, obviously, comes to a head in the last few minutes of the film, where Ann has to decide between saving Chris or Olivia. If you had been paying attention to her flashbacks and how things ended up, you might have figured out how she was gonna go. I think the film does a fantastic job at capturing the loss that Ann has suffered and making those losses feel important. I mean, it's obviously important to Ann herself, but sometimes films have trouble getting that point across to the audience. This film manages to get that point across, Ann had to do some pretty messed up shit at the end there and the scene where she does it is certainly very poignant and powerful. To say that what Ann did changed her irrevocably is an understatement. So, yea, I thought the character development in this film was very strong as was the acting. The entire cast is great, though Lucy Walters (Ann) steals the show here with her performance. The film has its horror scenes, for sure, but they're not what the film focuses on. So if you were expecting a full-on horror movie, then you're barking up the wrong tree, sadly. The horror that is there is very good though and it's far more memorable given the fact that it's contained to only a few scenes like, maybe, three or four at the most. While I might understand the complaints about this not having as much horror, this is meant to be a post-apocalyptic drama with a few horror elements. Having said all of that, I really liked this movie and I would give it an easy recommendation, even if you end up not liking it. I think it adds enough that feels different and fresh to make this worth a watch. This was a very good movie with some excellent acting and strong characters, so I can't really complain.
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