I have to admit that within the first fifteen to twenty minutes of Alone In The Dead of Night, I was kind of ready to discount it as a somewhat boring movie that wasn’t really going anywhere. Fortunately, I was completely wrong. While nothing horrifying happens within the first half hour, what comes after is enough to give you some anxiety for at least the rest of the day after watching it.
Matty Castano and Kristine Castano wrote a very convincing script about two best friends, Mallory and Gwen, hanging out in Mallory’s apartment as she agonizes over a painful knee injury and a recent break-up from her boyfriend, Chuck. Gwen is Mallory’s rock, the person who is there for her in times in trouble. She’s the prototypical “strong friend” who we all either have or are for someone else. Gwen is attempting to cheer Mallory out of her depression, which Mallory medicates with abundant amounts of wine, pills, and through her artwork, that is definitely macabre.
“Mallory and Gwen…agonizes over a painful knee injury and a recent break-up from her boyfriend…”
Before Gwen leaves, she gives Mallory a present that she got from her recent vacation. It’s a necklace that a woman offered to Gwen for protection. She said Mallory needed it more and give it to her. After Gwen leaves, Mallory drinks more wine, and takes more pills, does some sit-ups, takes a bath, all things that one might do to attempt to take one’s mind off a bad situation. During this time, Mallory hears occasional knocks at the door, who end up being no one, and people whispering her name.
She falls asleep a couple of times and has some insane dreams, including one where there is a gross gangrenous patch of skin on her arm that has puss and bugs and red fibrous matter coming out of it, but then she wakes up, and her arm is fine. Then there are masked people in the house, trying to grab her feet, walking around in the background, but are they actually there?
There is A LOT of disturbing imagery in Alone In The Dead of Night, including these possibly demonic figures that remind me of the Cenobites from Hellraiser. If you, like me, hate the sound and vision of chattering/grinding teeth, then you’re in for some real discomfort. There’s also the possibility that one of these demonic specters is actually her ex-boyfriend, Chuck, playing a prank on her. Then again, everything is purposely convoluted so that the viewer is never sure what is real.
“This will cleanse your palate of all the crap that’s out there…”
The thing that I loved about Alone In the Dead of Night is the larger metaphor behind the narrative which is that if enough bad things happen to a person, they can manifest into bad dreams, anxiety, bad behaviors, etc. Matty Castano takes this idea and pushes it to its limits. There is also an overarching tale of friendship and what happens when you take people for granted. Also, in addition to this possibly cursed necklace, there is another possibly haunted object. Again, it’s not entirely clear if all of this is Mallory’s dream, or if she’s really cursed. You’ll also never want to hear the sentence “Give me what is mine” ever again.
Alone In the Dead of Night is sharply written and the special effects are incredibly well done, considering the budgetary scale the production crew had. It doesn’t happen too often, but this film made me genuinely uneasy. I would definitely recommend it for horror fans who’ve seen just about everything. This will cleanse your palate of all the crap that’s out there, which we all know there is plenty. The film was a really refreshing surprise, and you should definitely check it out.
Alone In The Dead of Night (2017) Directed by Matty Castano. Written by Matty and Kristine Castano. Starring Tammie Bergholdt, Nicole Dambro, James Hollis III, Justin Naughton, Kristine Castano, Katie O’Hagan, Robin Biets.
8 out of 10 Stars