Running time:98 minutes
Director:John Hyams
Release date:01 december 2020

Mulder's Review

Covering a festival like Fantasia proves to be not only a real intense dive into genre cinema that we enjoy, but more importantly allows us to discover independent films crafted with a true respect for the genre. From his first film, One Dog Day (1997), director and screenwriter John Hyams (son of the famous director Peter Hyams) proved himself to be a true master at getting the most out of a tight budget. After three films with Jean Claude Van Damme (Universal Soldier: Regeneration (2009), Dragon Eyes (2012), Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning (2012)) and an independent film All Square (2018 very noticed during the SXSW festival where he won the award for best narrative film 2018, John Hyams returns to the thriller, a genre he masters to perfection.

Alone is the remake of the Danish film written and directed by Mattias Olsson Försvunnen (Gone) (2011)). He is the screenwriter of this American remake revisited by John Hyams. We feel a real desire to return to the thriller in its force as simplistic, as immersive and violent. The film becomes a real cinematographic experience in which we discover a young traveler recently widowed, Jessica (Julie Wilcox) who will be pursued and kidnapped by a dangerous psychopath (Anthony Heald). After escaping into the wilderness, she must battle the elements as her pursuer gets closer and closer to her.

While Hollywood studios prefer to overdo the thrillers discovered in recent years, director John Hyams prefers to keep a total independence to make the film he wants and so he manages to make a powerful thriller without any false note. His inspired direction also benefits from the superb photography of Federico Verardi and the young actress Jules Willcox, perfect in the role of an innocent and fragile woman forced to bring out her survival instinct to face a hostile environment but also a psychopath ready to do anything to add her to his hunting list. Instead of playing on the principle of cat and mouse, Alone easily goes beyond the framework of a simple thriller to paint a portrait of a woman at the end of her rope who must not only find her will to live but also to stay alive at all costs.

Certainly Alone confirms all the good we think of the director John Hyams who continues his way far from the big Hollywood productions to continue to make the cinema he loves far from answering to the diktats of big studios seeing the films more as simple marketing products rather than as works of author seeking permanently to excel in their art or to revisit as it is the case here a successful Danish thriller passed unnoticed.

Directed by John Hyams
Produced by Jordan Foley, Jonathan Rosenthal, Mike Macari, Henrik JP Akesson
Written by Mattias Olsson
Starring Jules Willcox, Marc Menchaca, Anthony Heald
Music by Nima Fakhrara
Cinematography : Federico Verardi
Edited by Scott Roon, John Hyams
Production companies : Mill House Motion Pictures, Paperclip Ltd, XYZ Films
Distributed by Magnet Releasing
Release date : August 27, 2020 (Canada), September 18, 2020 (USA), December 1, 2020 (France)
Running time : 98 minutes
Seen on August 27, 2020

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