There are two types of movies about the undead: those that call ‘em like they see ‘em (zombies!) and those that attempt to transcend horror’s usual rules and lingo. Here Alone is the latter, following a young family’s retreat from civilization after an epidemic ravages the country and turns almost everyone into something we’ll call not-zombies.
Director Rod Blackhurst’s film bounces between the present day’s eerie stillness and the first frenetic days of the plague as Ann (Lucy Walters) and her husband Jason (Shane West) seek refuge in the woods with their infant daughter. The setting would be bucolic were it not for the horde of bloodthirsty flesh feasters that counterproductively shriek whenever they’re on the hunt. Now, Ann forages for food in dead people’s houses while slathered in mud and excrement to hide her scent.
Walters ably carries Here Alone on her character’s weary shoulders. Ann becomes a staunch survivalist despite setbacks when she attempts to find edible berries (she barfs) or craft a trap out of Cheez Whiz and a cooler propped with sticks (it fails). Her involuntary hermetism is interrupted when she discovers teen Olivia (Gina Piersanti) hobbling along the road with injured stepfather Chris (Adam David Thompson).
The new additions to Ann’s camp bring more mouths to feed — and differing opinions about how to survive. Here Alone attempts to unearth what people do when faced with the absolute worst days of their lives — and why they even bother to go on.
Although writer David Ebeltoft’s post-apocalyptic story feels familiar at times (reminiscent of parts of Stephen King’s The Stand), the scenery and Blackhurst’s direction make Here Alone a verdant, suspenseful treat.
Directed by Rod Blackhurst
Opens March 31, Cinema Village
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on March 28, 2017