Endless Psychological Torment is Left Alone with You (2022)
Title: Alone with You
First Non-Festival Release: February 4, 2022 (Theatrical Release)
Director: Emily Bennett, Justin Brooks
Writer: Emily Bennett, Justin Brooks
Runtime: 83 Minutes
Starring: Emily Bennett, Barbara Crampton, Emma Myles
Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here
Charlene (Emily Bennett) eagerly awaits her girlfriend, Simone’s (Emma Myles), return from a work trip. As she prepares for her arrival, Charlene begins to get anxious at her girlfriend’s unresponsiveness. When the minutes turn into hours, she starts reaching out to friends who are of little help, much like her mother (Barbara Crampton) who takes the moment to scold Charlene for potentially losing her recently decreased grandmother’s necklace. When she can’t take it anymore, Charlene decides to go out and look for Simone. Her plans are foiled when she is unable to open the door, which is only the beginning of Charlene’s troubles.
Predictable yet artistically executed, Alone with You is middling psychological horror that offers little new to the subgenre.
Quarantine brought about many fresh and interesting takes on isolation, Alone with You struggles to balance its interesting concept with something that delivers any sort of satisfying payoff. Teetering between the supernatural and psychological, Alone with You doesn’t make the revelations clear to the audience nor to Charlene. As the walls close in and the horror intensifies, writer directors Emily Bennett and Justin Brooks find inventive ways to foil all of Charlene’s attempts to escape.
Alone with You is a suffocating yet inventive little film. The walls of the apartment become more than Charlene’s jail cell as they shapeshift into her tormenters. Little things appear off like misplaced items and inconveniently locked doors. Is Charlene imagining things or is something supernatural happening? Slowly, her world gets eaten alive by the apartment. Disembodied voices, useless technology, and relics of her past indiscretions make it so Charlene can never leave. Alone with You makes it so viewers feel as trapped as Charlene does before succumbing to the maddening effects of her apartment.
Charlene starts out as a reliable narrator before surrendering to her own mental health issues over the course of the film. It gets more disturbing when it seems like no one is taking her seriously. When confiding in her mother, friends, and even the 911 operator, no one believes her. This potentiates Charlene’s mania as she fears she is going insane. Of course, there is more to it and Alone with You does a good job of holding its cards close to its chest before the reveal, but the buildup features plenty of psychological torment that makes it difficult to follow Charlene’s version of events. When she begins to falter to her own suspicions, the kaleidoscope of terror in her apartment only intensifies, making it even more difficult to decide what is happening.
Despite the intriguing premise, there is something off about the execution of Alone with You. Its disjointed narrative struggles to build tension as the world crumbles around Charlene. Moments that are meant to be sinister, come off as more comical. Perhaps the dark humor is meant to add to the film, but it largely feels out of place in the narrative. This culminates to the finale which leaves viewers with a wishy-washy ambiguous ending after learning more of Charlene’s actions as well as her fate. It isn’t necessarily bad; it is simply underwhelming considering the rest of the film.
Decisively middle-of-the-road, Alone with You fails to break new ground in a sea of pandemic era films. While it captures the stifling loneliness and disorientation of isolation, it struggles to weave these themes into a cohesive story. Bennett gives a solid performance but can’t elevate the material beyond its thin premise. It’s disappointing given that there are some genuinely unsettling moments peppered throughout the narrative. With better buildup and more depth given to Charlene’s character, Alone with You would have been a devilishly haunting queer horror film. For horror fans seeking out LGBTQ representation and pandemic adjacent thrills, Alone with You is a solid choice to spend a nice evening alone enjoying.
Overall Score? 5.5/10