A Tense And Spooky Isolation Horror Does It Right

Using subtle jumpscares and layered mystery to unleash its many nightmares, Alone With You drips with chilling plot all the way to the end.

The real-world horrors of the pandemic have been translated to screen in varying shades, culminating in one-piece horror offerings like last year’s We have to do something and Oxygen. Alone with you, in more ways than one, is a triumph in the one-piece horror genre. The film is able to capture the visceral nature of isolation and cabin fever, elevating them to a fever pitch. Using subtle jump scares and layered mystery to unleash his many nightmares, Alone with you drips with a chilling plot all the way to the end.

Alone with you opens with Charlie (Emily Bennett) preparing his apartment for his girlfriend Simone (Emma Myles) to celebrate their anniversary together. Simone, a professional photographer, is on a business trip and Charlie does his best to welcome her companion home. However, all is not well. Between receiving condescending video calls from his friend Thea (Dora Madison) and a video call from his overbearing religious mother (Barbara Crampton), Charlie begins to feel increasingly nervous, especially when Simone doesn’t respond at all to his calls. Things get spooky very quickly: glimpses of an ominous figure inside the house can be seen on the outskirts of some scenes, the videos start to lock up rather unsettlingly, and the front door refuses to budge. , which makes Charlie trapped inside.


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Alone with you
Charlie (Emily Bennett) in Alone With You

The reason why Alone with you manages to emerge as such a compelling paranoid horror is that it knows how to use its slow-burning narrative format to deliver spaced-out scares. Subtle visual cues are provided to introduce a sense of disorientation and a hint of madness: time stops running (literally all digital time freezes and disappears), the many photographs inside the apartment shift and shift ever so slightly, and parts of the dialogue are interposed with jarring sound design to deliver a jab meant to provoke. This is done especially well in the video call sequences between Charlie and her mother, who blatantly disapproves of her daughter’s core identity, expressing it through passive-aggressive beatings and occasional cruelty. Her mother’s thinly veiled judgment, latent homophobia, and complete disrespect for Charlie’s lifestyle as a makeup artist culminates in a rather heartbreaking sequence.

Things get progressively worse over time. Charlie hears incessant, disturbing moans coming from the heating vents, which eventually turn into pervasive taunts and almost demonic cackles that drive Charlie to the edge of sanity. It becomes increasingly difficult to tell the difference between dreams and waking nightmares, memories and reality, and what exactly happened between Charlie and Simone. Although this is a tale focused on a queer couple, the two barely share screen space, as Simone is largely absent and only mentioned in flashbacks. This, of course, is by no means a limitation, but leaves some aspects of the central relationship half-baked, especially since the very premise of Charlie’s psychological breakdown hinges on something that happened between both.

Alone with you

Alone with you only works because of Bennett’s incredible performance – his character is meant to drive the entire narrative forward without the ability to physically interact with anyone else. Bennett also co-wrote and co-directed the film with Justin Brooks, which shows she’s the driving force behind Alone with you raw and guttural aura that saturates the confines of the film until the end. Crampton, no stranger to standout roles in horror, does a terrific job of bringing all of her scenes home to perfectly eerie effect. The only glaring flaw in Alone with you is its rushed final moments and ending, but it’s not jarring enough to spoil the truly uncomfortable scares and tense suspense it generates throughout.

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Alone with you hits theaters on February 4 and will be available on demand and digital on February 8. The film is 83 minutes long and is unrated.

Our assessment:

3.5 out of 5 (very good)

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