Alone starts like an ordinary road movie but slowly transforms into a beast of a thriller. The story is gripping, the performances excellent and the direction tight, what more to want from a movie? We follow Jessica as she embarks on a four-day journey across the country to her new home. However, along the way, something is going to happen, something horrible. As soon as we get the first glimpses of what may follow each new interaction increases the tension until it becomes almost unbearable. It also makes us empathize with her almost immediately so we feel what she feels.
Using the minimalist approach and focusing only on Jessica’s character, Alone is one hell of an immersive experience. Especially if you’re a fan of true crime because her story is an amalgamation of hundred different but very real stories. One of the most haunting ones and the one that bears some resemblance to the story here is the one of Robert Ben Rhoades. This serial killer drove on the Texas highways looking for victims, taking horrifying pictures of their declining health. And speaking of serial killers, I should also mention Ted Bundy. He also used a sling to lure his victims by portraying himself to be injured.
I don’t know if I revealed too much here but I think you’ve already guessed where this is going. Mostly because we’ve seen this story before. Also, there are some pretty cliched and unbelievable developments. I think all of them actually helped the movie remain not too hard-hitting or haunting. So, we’re nowhere near Eden Lake or The Strangers. If you want to see how it would look like if they went all-in check out Hunter Hunter. Still, we’re edgier than commercial thrillers like Unhinged. Now that we’ve gone over some of the movies you might check out after this one, let’s move on to the story.
After a terrible family tragedy, Jessica decides to move and start her life again. She packs everything she has in a small U-Haul trailer and starts the journey towards her new life. While driving on one of the more remote roads, she almost gets hit by a huge truck after another driver refuses to let her in the lane. Thinking that the worst is over, she hunkers down for the night. Little did she know that this is only the beginning of her troubles.
Jules Willcox was excellent as Jessica although I kind of saw Mary Elizabeth Winstead in that role. And while she was the star of the show, Marc Menchaca is the one that’s going to stay with me for a long time. There’s something unnerving and awkward about this guy and his performance here. It’s genuinely frightening. Nature also plays a large part in this movie. Dense forests, wild rivers, and remote areas do not look peaceful and calming but exactly the opposite. Actually, they convey this sense of an ancient struggle between predator and prey that will go on long after we’re dead.
Finally, I also want to mention that Alone is a remake of the Swedish thriller Försvunnen or Gone. I haven’t seen the original but I can tell you that the remake is pretty solid. Especially when you consider how little elements or character development is present here.
Director: John Hyams
Writer: Mattias Olsson
Cast: Jules Willcox, Marc Menchaca, Anthony Heald, Jonathan Rosenthal, Katie O’Grady
Fun Facts: The podcast playing in the car in the beginning is Knifepoint Horror.