Here Alone (2016)

Director : Rod Blackhurst
Starring : Lucy Walters, Gina Piersanti, Adan David Thompson, Shane West  . USA 1h 38m.

Here alone is one of those modern Zombie/Infection films that steers away from showing thousands of scenes of people being attacked and eaten, meelie kills and explosions and focuses on the aftermath of  such a devastating event. Ann (Walters) struggled to survive in the forest after a virus has infected and decimated most of the human population, but her reasoning for forging an existence on the edge of the forest is unusual. it’s not totally unique, there are other films that deal with life in a post apocalyptic future, at all stages, from The Road (2009) Carriers (2009) and to an extent even Mad Max 3 (1985), but the film which has more similarities is The Survivalist (2015) at times in both of these movies it’s hard to believe that the rest of the population had been killed or are roaming around as a mindless body, as they are set in lush edens.

A year after a plague like virus similar to the Black Death starts to infect people causing a mass exodus when the infected start to act like “erratic and violent” Ann escapes into the forest with her survivalist husband and baby. A year later it’s just Ann, living between two sites, a campsite and an old car. She devises a method of distracting the infected with her blood and breaking into a local town to scavenge for food scraps but refuses to budge from her sites in the forest. One day while travelling back to her camp she stumbles on teenage girl attending to a dying man in the road, reluctantly she helps them and discovers it’s a young girl and her step dad. Her tranquil life is turned upside down on their arrival, she’s cautious but accepts them and they begin to help each other, this is when the pace begins to quicken and the film becomes deeply psychological, the theme darken s as the two strangers add mystery to the otherwise straightforward film.

Ann initially won’t budge for her own personal reasons, it’s an act of repenting, regretting and reliving for her, the intrusion is both welcomed and shunned, the beginning of the movie is shot so beautifully, long panning landscapes of the forest, or the rolling hills as Ann sits quietly listening to a small wind up radio with a single repetitive broadcast in French.  The silence is obviously broken but the intention of the duo is hard to read. Its at this point the film becomes a little confusing but the dynamics between Ann and Chris (Thompson) flirts with a touch of romance.  But before that can really develop there is a nasty sting in the plot.

Rod Blackhurst has only worked on a few shorts, all well directed and wonderfully atmospheric but his transition to a full length feature is brilliant, it’s a pretty successful for what it is, a genre movie, but his handling of two ends of a delicate storyline is commended. There are a few titles in production from the director, a comedy and documentary but hopefully he’ll try and perfect this formula again, there’s a lot of potential from this young vibrant director.

Humanity and morals are usually the first aspect that’s instantly dropped when there is a major crisis, usually zombie flicks have many haunting scenes of family members having to kill each other and a fierce fight for survival. There is a distinctly different feeling in Here Alone. it’s all about Ann and her deep guilt and inability to let go. She’s repenting in a cathedral of trees on a site that had great meaning to her husband.

This drama isn’t about the infected monsters, it’s more subtle in it’s approach, it’s all about the survivors and especially Ann, her personal guilt, through her we attempt to hold on to what makes us human. Without giving too much away, it’s not going to be easy on young mothers. The twisted ending there is still a lot of hope and happiness which I feel is an excuse to mask the horrors of this tragedy, it could have been as bleak and relentless as The Road (2009)

 

 

Rating 6/10

R – Survivalist (2015), The Road (2009) Carriers (2009)
L  – Post Apocalyptic A-Z
A – What’s more frightening, living through a zombie outbreak or the aftermath.

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