23rd Mar2021

‘You’re Not Alone’ DVD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Katia Winter, Leya Catlett, Zach Avery, Emmy James, Lane Bradbury, Richard Bekins, Jerry Dixon, Marceline Hugot, Patrick Hamilton | Written by Andrew Wong | Directed by Eduardo Rodriguez

Director Eduardo Rodriguez has been, at least for me, something of a underrated talent. His first Hollywood movie, Stash House, was an effective action thriller and his follow-up, El Gringo, was a superb film and star-making vehicle for action star Scott Adkins. And – at least for me – his Fright Night sequel-c0me-remake was a decent entry in the franchise and one that I enjoyed more than the Colin Farrell iteration. So when I discovered his latest feature film, You’re Not Alone, was due out this week – after apparently being filmed in 2016 under the title Unwanted – I knew I had to check it out… And I’m glad I did.

You’re Not Alone tells the story of Emma (Katia Winter) who, after the premature death of her estranged husband, regains custody of their young daughter Isla (Leya Catlett) and hopes to rebuild their relationship after many years apart. But when an evil entity begins to torment them, mother and daughter are forced to face the inexplicable presence that inhabits the walls of their new home.

Kicking off with a flashback to a suicide attempt really sets the dark mode of You’re Not Alone and within minutes of Emma regaining custody of Isla that dark mood swells, as the home the inhabit seemingly plays tricks on them… Yes, we’re in familiar territory here – that of paranormal activity or mental breakdown. It’s a cliche that’s been explored a myriad of times in genre cinema but is still one that, if done right, can still generate plenty of horror and suspense. And You’re Not Alone does a lot of things right.

The mood is kept dark and brooding; the horror plays out in slow-building fashion, focusing more on creeping out the audience rather than spring them; but when the scares do comes, even the cheap jump scares, it all feels very effective. Even moreso when the film explodes in violence and doesn’t shy away from the gore! That’s what’s done right. Unfortunately where things go wrong for Rodriguez’s film is the pacing. That slow-burn becomes somewhat hard-going as the film approaches its middle, and there could have been a few sub-plots forgone in favour of trimming the runtime somewhat, keeping the film tightly-paced and therefore a little more fraught.

Speaking of fraught, Katia Winter gives a stunning performance as Emma walking a fine line between a mother trying to reconnect with her estranged daughter and a mentally troubled woman who is trying – again for the sake of her daughter – to keep things together despite the huge trauma that becoming a mother can be. And she is matched perfectly by Leya Catlett as Isla, whose portrayal of young girl not only traumatised by the death of her father but also having to get to know a woman she’s never met before is one of the best child performances I’ve seen in a genre film in a long time.

Thankfully You’re Not Alone more than makes up for its shortcomings in the films final moments, when the cliched, stereotypical plotting looks to be reaching a crescendo and then BLAM!, everything is thrown out of the window. The story focussing back on the mother-daughter relationship before revealing the truth of what been going on in their home… Which, frankly, is more terrifying than anything you could have ever guessed and more terrifying than the rest of the film put together!

You’re Not Alone is out now on DVD from High Fliers Films.

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