When Fluky Fiction advertised they were going to be allowing authors to do film reviews for the month of October, I jumped at the opportunity. As a casual film buff, it's something I've always wanted to do. As a horror writer with my first book being published next year, I wanted to choose a film that went along with the genre and theme of my own work. I sat down and added as many zombie apocalypse movies I could and picked the one that seemed like it would tickle my fancy. In the end, I would choose a 2016 movie called Here Alone, which I've always seen in my travels through Netflix but never committed to watching. It had what I thought seemed like a decent premise so I sat down with a cold Cherry Pepsi and hit play...
I'm sad to say that my fancy was left decidedly untickled.
The film follows a woman as she tries to survive in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse. She lives out her days on the banks of a lake, scrounging nearby farm houses for food when her stockpile becomes depleted. The timeline isn't really discussed but it seems as if she's lived in seclusion for some time after the loss of her husband and child. She seems to be doing just fine on her own until a girl and her ailing stepfather show up as they travel north...you know, because that's what everyone does in these situations. They show up rather early in the story and the rest of the film is basically long, boring shots of them eating snacks, swimming, or having boring conversation filled with forced dialogue and confusing motives.
Now don't get me wrong...I'm ok with slower movies. My favourite movie genre is drama, so I'm okay with slower paced films with heavy dialogue. Even with The Walking Dead, a lot of people say it's really gotten boring and slow, I can honestly say that I've stuck with it and enjoyed every episode. Now that's not saying that The Walking Dead doesn't have its share of slower episodes...but I'd invite you to think about the slowest, most boring episode of The Walking Dead, because within that hour long borefest you'd still have a more exciting viewing experience than Here Alone, which clocks in at just over an hour and a half.
Seriously though, I'd rather watch an hour of Maggie and Glenn silently toss a frisbee on Herschel's farm than sit through Here Alone again.
What exactly went wrong?, you may ask...
Firstly, for a zombie flick, you don't see a clear shot of a zombie for the entire first hour, and that's not an exaggeration. I tend to think the real antagonist in this film was meant to be loneliness, but really, in a zombie movie, you need zombies. When the zombies eventually do show up, they just didn't cut it for me. Probably some of the least interesting, horribly acted zombies I've ever experienced in a movie. Again, I tried not to use The Walking Dead as a benchmark, but seriously, this movie came out in 2016...it had plenty of time to figure out how to do a zombie right by just using one episode of TWD as an example.
Secondly, the underaged stepdaughter and her stepfather seem to be flirting for a good portion of the film. This all leads to some very questionable actions from the stepdaughter towards the end of the film which sets up a whole bunch of nonsensical plot lines that didn't really add up for me.
Thirdly...it's just boring. I'm not exaggerating when I say that most of the film is of them collecting and eating snacks. The movie should have been called "Eating Snacks in the Woods for an Hour, Then a Zombie." There's also swimming, as well as a very expedited and unnecessary sex scene.
If this movie got anything right, I would say that it would be in the flashback scenes that depicted her and her family at different stages at the start of the apocalypse. I'm not really spoiling anything when I say that the husband and child do not survive, given that the title is HERE ALONE, and seeing the progression of how she ended up alone is actually quite heartbreaking at times.
All in all, I'd say that this is a very flawed film with lofty goals and good intentions. It's not my intention to turn any off towards a film and if anyone out there reads this and ends up watching, PLEASE let me know if you agree or disagree with my findings!
Tim Gabrielle's debut novel is in production to be published next year.
Visit Tim Gabrielle on the web!