Not Alone Image

Not Alone

By Abhishek Sharma | April 25, 2022

Not Alone feels like a rip-off of many horror films we’ve seen before. It’s an amalgamation of story elements drawn from the likes of The Amityville HorrorInsidiousThe Conjuring, and American Horror Story: Murder House. There are a few significant changes when compared to its inspirations; however, one wouldn’t say they’re for the better. The writing is what makes it lag behind. It’s presented as a psychological thriller instead of a horror movie, yet, writer-director duo Lydelle Jackson and Cezil Reed aren’t able to dive into the main family’s mental state as it tackles what is haunting them.

The Lawsons — father Walter (Pat Healy), mother Shelly (Sarah Schroeder-Matzkin), along with their children Tommy (Trevor Dolden) and Jess (Megan Ashley Brown) — luck into buying a mansion at a fairly cheap price, much lower than the market rates. However, after moving in, they find out that the place is haunted by an unidentified supernatural entity. Sounds like something you’ve heard before, right?

“…after moving in, they find out that the place is haunted…”

Through an opening sequence styled by occult rituals and proceedings, Not Alone tries to grab the audience into what seems a horrifying account of supernatural events, filled with jump scares and creepy background music. But, the filmmakers abruptly change paths and go in another direction. Then there’s the introduction of Dr. James Clay (Richard Lawson). The character comes to the Lawson family just as Ed and Lorraine Warren did to the Perrons but without the same stature of significance.

The runtime also works against the flick. Though it is almost 85 minutes, the film has so many subplots that it fails to justify when it hops from one to the other, leaving gaps, loopholes, and an overall feeling of a lack of completeness. And thus, when the story takes a significant turn where it reveals the truth about the events the family goes through, it just becomes too bland to have any impact. While the plot is derivative and the influences are clearly visible, Jackson and Reed have tried to create something new in the climax, which, unfortunately, does not go well. It’s good to go off book, never sticking with what defines a genre, but this horror offering gets trapped in its own net of derivative stories. So much so, in fact, that it fails to properly take off when it tries to.

Not Alone (2021)

Directed and Written: Lydelle Jackson, Cezil Reed

Starring: Pat Healy, Sarah Schroeder-Matzkin, Megan Ashley Brown, Trevor Dolden, Richard Lawson, etc.

Movie score: 4/10

Not Alone Image

"…an amalgamation of story elements..."

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