For a genre that’s typically ultra-formulaic in its approach, “Alone with Her” manages to achieve a level of uniqueness not usually observed in the realm of Found Footage films. Nonetheless, the film has its challenges, but still manages to both entertain and disturb. “Alone with Her” isn’t so much about the ending as the journey the antagonist takes to get to his destination.
Spoilers abound, after watching the first few minutes of this film most viewers will accurately predict where the story is headed and how it will end. As I mentioned above, it’s the journey and psychology of the antagonist that captivates and intrigues. We owe this mainly to the competent acting of a young Colin Hanks, who is better known for his recurring role in the critically acclaimed show Mad Men and more recently in the Fargo miniseries, both of which aired on AMC. In “Alone with Her”, Colin plays the socially awkward Doug, who becomes fixated on Amy, the unwitting victim of Doug’s stalking and manipulation, played by actress actress Ana Claudia Talancón. Doug’s ultimate goal is to use what he learns from his stalking activities and watching strategically placed spy cams and using not-so-subtle manipulation to date and become a “couple” with Amy.
Doug’s general tactics include manipulating Amy’s life to prevent her from dating other people; make her more reliant on Doug; and alienate any of Amy’s friends that threaten Doug’s plans. The uniqueness of this film in the Found Footage genre comes from the clever use of spy cams and having our antagonist process the information he learns from watching this footage to weave his way into Amy’s life, leaving a path of pain and destruction in his wake.
I mentioned above that this film is not without its challenges. If we are to measure this film accurately in the Found Footage genre, I must protest the intermittent use of theatrical background music added to the film during tense moments, apparently added to further heighten our awareness. For a film that is otherwise 100% pure Found Footage, these added sound bytes felt out of place and pulled me out of the moment. Additionally, there were several “recorded” scenes that felt contrived out of convenience for the purpose of conveying information to the viewer. These scenes did not come across as something the antagonist would naturally record, which again pulled me out of the film. One such scene had the antagonist make a hidden recording of his visit to a spy store where he purchased his equipment to wire Amy’s apartment. While I understand that this information was necessary to move the plot forward, the writer could have certainly come up with a better way to get there.
it’s the journey and psychology of the antagonist that captivates and intrigues
As the antagonist made his way into Amy’s world, he became more brazen and the tension of the movie correspondingly increased in a slow crescendo. Unfortunately, the acting and tension fell flat towards the end. I was left wishing Colin Hanks would have brought out more emotion (and dare I say evilness) to match what he was up to towards the end of the film. If he had done so, I believe the payoff would have been that much stronger.
Found Footage films typically employ the services of unknown actors, for budgetary reasons if not for anything else, and suffice it to say, at the time the movie was filmed Colin Hanks was at the beginning of his career, and was relatively unknown. I’m fairly confident that with his current curriculum vite, this is not a role he would even consider playing if it were to come along today.
All in all, “Alone with her” is an entertaining film and a welcome addition to the genre.