Alone Time Image

Alone Time

By Bobby LePire | June 3, 2024

Alone Time is the first feature-length screenplay by Paul Coates. The thriller is directed by Gene Blalock, who has helmed a number of films, shorts included, in just a few years. The central theme of the piece is about how trauma and grief can isolate someone from those around them, however unintentionally, and even from themselves.

Colin (Rhashan Stone) is six months past the due date for his latest draft. His manager, Celeste (Elizabeth A. Reilly), is a good friend and is trying not to nag the author too much about the draft. However, any doubts she has are assuaged by Colin’s reassurances that this book is “good,” something he never said about his other work. On top of that, his change of scenery — a house in the Hollywood Hills — seems to have reinvigorated him. Colin’s nephew, aspiring writer Cody (Johnny Cendejas), and his wife, Sophia (Kristin Walker), are helping him move in. As a thank you, Colin cooks dinner for Cody, Sophia, Celeste, and Colin’s ex-partner Jackson (Joe Camareno). The after-dinner conversation turns to the bomb shelter the house has with it, which Colin would like to turn into a wine cellar.

But as Colin spends more time in his new home, he begins hearing, seeing, and smelling odd things. But he’s not the only one, as Cody thinks Colin took up smoking. As the two research the house’s storied history, they conclude that they are either losing their minds or someone is living in the bomb shelter. Is Colin simply getting too caught up in his writing and imagining things? Is there someone squatting in the bomb shelter, and if so, are they dangerous?

“…they are either losing their minds or someone is living in the bomb shelter.”

Alone Time weaves a twist-filled tale and ends with quite a punch. A few elements are easy enough to figure out, specifically the role Colin’s father plays in everything, but they are still used effectively and round out the lead character nicely. The author is an engaging person, and his passion for his book is never in doubt. This is a good thing considering the importance the all-consuming manuscript has on the man. Cody is also three-dimensional, with his attempts to break into the industry and his relationship with Sophia nicely handled. Admittedly, the deterioration of Jackson and Colin’s relationship could have been done with a bit more fleshing out. How and why they broke up is only ever hinted at, so much of the tension in their scenes together doesn’t always ring true. But Colin and Celeste’s respect and friendship are a thing of pure beauty and give the film its humanity.

Stone delivers a stellar performance as the intelligent writer grappling with the possibility of mental illness. He portrays strength, tenderness, and bewilderment with such believability that it’s hard not to be drawn into his character’s journey. Cendejas brings a fun energy and shares a natural chemistry with his on-screen uncle, adding to the film’s charm. Despite the character’s writing issues, Camareno’s portrayal of a man trying to rebuild his life, preferably with his love, is commendable. Reilly’s comedic timing is impeccable, making her the heart of the show and bringing levity to every scene she’s in.

Alone Time is a tension-filled thriller dripping with mystery and twists. The plot keeps audiences on their toes throughout the 81-minute runtime, making it a truly engaging experience. The cast’s superb performances, despite minor screenplay flaws, make the film a must-watch, as they bring depth and intrigue to their respective roles. In summary, this is a moody, mysterious, and thoroughly engrossing film.

For more information, visit the official Alone Time site.

Alone Time (2024)

Directed: Gene Blalock

Written: Paul Coates

Starring: Rhashan Stone, Elizabeth A. Reilly, Johnny Cendejas, Kristin Walker, Joe Camareno, etc.

Movie score: 8.5/10

Alone Time Image

"…ends with quite a punch."

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