Isolation is something we’ve all come to know a little too well over the last couple of years, thanks to the pandemic. What happens when you’re isolated not only physically but also emotionally, drifting further apart from the people closest to you in life? These are the interesting themes explored in co-writers and co-directors Justin Brooks and Emily Bennett’s suspenseful horror film Alone With You.
Bennett plays Charlie, a make-up artist living in Brooklyn, who’s eagerly waiting for her girlfriend Simone (Emma Myles) to get home in order to celebrate their anniversary. Simone is supposed to be getting back from an out-of-state work trip as a photographer, while Charlie is simply left waiting in their apartment. The filmmakers show us little snapshots of the two lovers from the past. There’s no dialogue in these moments, just smiles as they frolic on the beach together.
Strange interspersed sound and visual cues from almost the very start tell us that something is amiss. The front door becomes jammed, trapping Charlie inside. Now things start to go bump in the night. Her best friend, Thea (Dora Madison), a clubbing party girl, FaceTimes with Charlie every now and then while disparaging Simone and letting her know what she’s missing by not being out and about.
“The front door becomes jammed, trapping Charlie inside.”
The majority of Alone With You centers on Bennett, who delivers. Her emotional range from boredom to desperation and to fear is outstanding. I also thoroughly enjoyed Barbara Crampton as Charlie’s homophobic, disapproving mother. They have video chats together that range from the familiar annoyance of family issues to something much more sinister. Dora Madison also comes across authentically as Thea.
Alone With You calls to mind the John Cusack starring horror flick 1408. Both deal with the madness of being trapped alone, while a supernatural presence messes with the protagonist’s mind. They’re also both entertaining and full of suspense. I enjoyed the creepy little touches, such as eyes moving in a picture in the background for a brief moment or the sounds that are like a television cutting out. At a brisk runtime of an hour and twenty-three minutes, I was entertained throughout. But my criticism is that I did not find it all that terrifying. Terror on a low budget is a tall task, so I can’t fault the filmmakers too much. Still, it would’ve strengthened the overall production if there were genuine scares to be found.
It’s an interesting dynamic that as Charlie’s personal life unravels, things get spookier for her. Lockdown in real-life magnified our personal relationships, so it’s not hard to imagine what terrors could await if all of those important people were stripped away. The lonely aspect of the lead character is the scariest thing about Alone With You because it’s so real.
"…centers on Bennett, who delivers."