Written by: Matt Patti | February 5th, 2022
Alone with You (Emily Bennett/Justin Brooks, 2021) 3 out of 4 stars.
During the COVID-19 lockdown of early 2020, many people surely came close to going stir crazy. Plenty experienced cabin fever and couldn’t stand being inside for such extended lengths. The unfortunate mental-health effects of being confined for too long is something that most people have experienced, and for those who hadn’t experienced it before the lockdown, they likely did during that time. In directors Emily Bennett and Justin Brooks’ Alone with You, they explore the dark, terrifying effects of a situation similar to being stuck inside during lockdown. Bennett stars in the film as the main protagonist, Charlie, a woman who is ensnared in her New York City apartment alone and suffers horrific side effects.
Charlie (Bennett, King of Knives) is excited one Friday night to get her apartment set for her anniversary with her beloved girlfriend, Simone (Emma Myles, Netflix’s Orange is the New Black series). Simone doesn’t answer any of Charlie’s many calls, however, and we discover that there is some tension between the two as of late. However, Charlie, an optimist, nevertheless continues preparations for the night. Soon, she hears voices from within the walls, experiences strange Wi-Fi issues; then, her front door gets stuck, trapping her inside the apartment. More unexplainable events occur as the evening goes on, leading Charlie to begin to question reality. What is going on, and will she be able to enjoy her anniversary?
Bennett gives an exceptional performance as a sweet and loyal, but naïve, character. Though many of Charlie’s friends have told her that Simone doesn’t deserve her and that Simone doesn’t care for Charlie nearly as much as Charlie cares for her, she blocks out all the noise and attempts to be the best partner she can be. Charlie is someone the audience can easily root for and sympathize with while at the same time feeling uneasy about her situation and choices. Alone with You is very unsettling, throughout, and gives the viewer a feeling of claustrophobia and dread, much like Charlie feels the whole time. Nearly the entire movie takes place in her small NYC apartment, and as the events taking place in that space get more and more sinister, the viewer wants out of the place just as badly as Charlie. Charlie (and therefore the viewer) never quite know exactly what is happening, leading to great suspense and an aura of intense mystery that lasts throughout the entire film.
My one complaint is that there are a few too many visions and flashbacks. These are necessary, at times, for context, but some of them repeat and become cumbersome. Alone with You is not strictly a horror/thriller mystery, but also mixes in aspects of experimental cinema, as well. Personally, I’m not the biggest fan of experimental films, so some of the wilder aspects don’t quite appeal to me. However, I will admit that the highest intensity and most frightening scenes in the film come as a result of some very unconventional methods.
In the end, Alone with You is a chilling, compelling movie that keeps the audience guessing and ends in a very memorable fashion. Bennett’s Charlie is the perfect fit as the protagonist and Bennett’s performance lends to her likability. The film creates genuine suspense and engages the viewer through our fear of the unknown and the unexplained. Also, even though the film goes a bit off the rails near the conclusion, it wraps up in a satisfying way and tells a complete narrative. I believe Alone with You is one of those horror films that will stick with many viewers long after the credits roll.