12th Oct2021

Grimmfest 2021: ‘Alone With You’ Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Emily Bennett, Barbara Crampton, Meghan Lane, Dora Madison, Emma Myles | Written and Directed by Emily Bennett, Justin Brooks

The Covid pandemic might have just changed the way people make and watch movies forever. Of course, the way watch them was slowly changing and now we are seeing more and more films released in cinemas and at home simultaneously but with making them, filmmakers had to suddenly think out side of the box. How could we make movies with social distancing and ‘lockdowns’ a thing? Well we are starting to find out.

There have been movies before the last few years that have been set in one location or starred only one actor on screen at a time but this had to be the norm if you wanted to make a movie in the last two years and in Alone With You we see a woman prepare a romantic homecoming for her partner who has been away at work. But her girlfriend doesn’t seem to be arriving any time soon and strange occurrences start in the apartment that she is seemingly unable to leave.

I have said it in the past but I have always been super interested movies that have either/or a limited cast or one setting. To be good it needs an either an outstanding performance or some really great writing (or both) and that can only be a good thing. Alone With You’s main actress, Emily Bennett, is also the co-writer and co-director and I think this helps in that she knows exactly what she wants from the character she is playing. And it shows. Bennett is excellent, often acting alone and if she is opposite someone it is via video call on phone or laptop. We do also get a few dream sequences or maybe hallucinations and memories too, so it’s not completely one girl alone. The actress does a good job of making the viewer not quite sure who the character is. Is she just plain crazy, is she someone in love and not thinking straight, is she completely normal? All these possibilities and more!

Outside of that key performance from Bennett, Barbara Crampton pops up for a little more than a cameo. She is obviously good as the overbearing mother and horror fans will be overjoyed to see her.

There are some very typical horror movies tropes here but the mostly work. Hearing voices, weird dream sequences, bad internet connection (this is never that scary!) but it adds a few ideas of its own too. Despite being set in quite a big apartment (and a very nice one that I’d happily live in), you do get the ‘trapped’ feeling that the lead character is soon feeling. The panic that she starts to feel when things seem to go from bad to worse. Although the attempts at jump scares didn’t quite work for me, there’s a good score throughout that does create some good tension and sense of dread.

Alone With You manages to keep it’s viewer intrigued throughout, I was constantly second-guessing myself on where it was heading and I still thought it all came to a satisfying conclusion. Like the best horror this uses real life issues and problems and puts it alongside and eerie, horror-filled setting. Alone With You is an impressive début feature from co-directors Emily Bennett and Justin Brooks.

*** 3/5

Alone With You screened as part of this years Grimmfest.

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