Written by David Ebeltoft and directed by Rob Blackhurst, Here Alone is quite the timely film, despite beginning its festival run a few years ago. The horror-thriller is set in a world where a mysterious disease ran rampant and ravaged most of the population. The few who remain are always on the move and stay vigilant as a portion of the infected turn into ravenous, zombie-esque creatures.
The story focuses on Ann (Lucy Walters), who scavenges for food, maintains a few different primary campsites, and is reeling from the loss of her husband and baby. One day, she sees Olivia (Gina Piersanti) and her stepdad Chris (Adam David Thompson) injured in the middle of the road. Confirming neither of them is infected, Ann decides to help them heal up. While all goes well at first, the somewhat flirtatious relationship between Chris and Ann makes the teenage Olivia jealous. Her misplaced resentments threaten to tear apart what little peace the trio has come to find.
Here Alone is effective thanks to the economic choices made at every stage of the production. Running a little over an hour and a half, there’s no fat on these movie bones. The present-day tale is straightforward, while the interspersed flashbacks to the early days of the infection about Ann and her husband are necessary for character development.
“…the infected turn into ravenous, zombie-esque creatures.”
While shooting in the woods might have been due to budgetary limitations, the lush cinematography by Adam McDaid makes the film look like a million bucks. From the tattered clothes to the dusty, cobwebbed-filled homes being looted and the broken car, the art design makes everything onscreen look like a dilapidated, sparsely populated world. It’s only rivaled by the brilliant, haunting look of How To Save Us.
The cast of Here Alone also adds to its overall success. Walters is excellent as the heartbroken but determined Ann. In a tense exchange with Chris over why she won’t be joining him and Olivia, she states that this is no longer a world where one can find forgiveness. The actor delivers the line with great emotional anguish. Piersanti is remarkable, ensuring that audiences always understand her point of view even when she’s being petty. Thompson is also quite good, as he sells his care and concern for Olivia and Ann well. Shane West makes an impression in his brief role as John, Ann’s husband.
The plot of Here Alone is straightforward, meaning that it is easy to figure out where things are heading. However, the characters are quite realistic, and the setting is perfectly realized in a truly visual way. Add in the excellent cast and effective use of flashbacks, and one gets a survival horror-thriller that is worth watching as soon as possible.
To enter the world of Here Alone, check out the official movie site.