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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Review: Here Alone

Here Alone Poster
If you're like the millions of people who wait day-by-day for new episodes of The Walking Dead, then these moments of lull can feel desperate and empty. In fact, even if you're not a fane of the program, but still love zombie films and all things post-apocalyptic, the wait period between new material can feel endless. Rest assured though, more is coming and more will continue to come. The subgenre is perhaps the most profitable due to it's escapism aspects and there doesn't seem to be any shortage of potential with the subgenre. Queue the release of Here Alone; a perfectly well done, heartfelt film that'll appeal to broader audiences and fans alike. It's sad, it's unnerving and best of all, it's suspenseful.

Here Alone follows a young woman's fight for survival a year after the world is destroyed by a virus. The film stars Lucy Walters (Power) as Anne, the woman central to the story, Shane West (Nikita) as her husband, Adam David Thompson (A Walk Among Tombstones) as Chris, a man Anne comes across on her journey, and Gina Piersanti (It Felt Like Love), as the man's would-be stepdaughter, Olivia.  

Beautifully shot in Upstate New York, Here Alone begins as a stark portrayal of life in the wilderness. Viewers enter into Ann's life unsure of what had happened, only that the difficulties she has faced have led her to the dismal conditions she finds herself in. There are flashbacks showing her husband and baby, but similar to many movies like it, it's easy to tell that they're no longer with her, a definite bid for audience's sympathy (a tactic that, time and time again, works).

Here Alone is a more subtle film than the nonstop action so well known to the post-apocalyptic subgenre. However, it offers more than its fair share of vision and suspense. The introduction of the unseen monsters in the woods alone is enough to cause pause, as Ann ventures into an abandoned home in search of food. And, when she eventually gets caught on a fence, the short moment will dole out goose bumps. This theme of subtlety continues as we witness flashbacks to Anne's eventual solitude, a brief climactic encounter in the woods and the perfectly paced climax.

The one flaw, more like a thorn in the side than a fatal blow, is the slow start of young actor Piersanti, who unfortunately comes across as more unsure of her role than unsure of how to live through the troubled times her character faces throughout the first half of the film. But, even this is overcome by the midway point when a dare leads her into a lake to swim and she unfolds as a character to care about. In fact, by the midway point, all three of our central characters matter and will inevitably pull at the heartstrings of audiences.

While never groundbreaking, Here Alone accomplishes enough in its character study of survival instincts to not be diminished by its conventionality. As far as post-apocalyptic films go, this one is far tamer than most others. Reminiscent of Into The Forest, Here Alone is mostly quiet, but not to be underestimated. It's an interesting film that puts viewers in the shoes of its characters and for that, it deserves some recognition.



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