Directed by Eric Nicholas
Distributed by Genius Products, LLC.
Trying to find the courage to talk to a certain guy or girl can be tough. Starting up a conversation out of nowhere in a coffee shop can be easy for some and impossible for others. It is difficult to know what to say, how to say it, and to know if you even have the slightest things in common with the prey you are chasing. But do you know what could make all that so much simpler? Hidden cameras!
Doug (Colin Hanks) is a meek young fellow. He’s got brains, balls, and stealth; but he lacks all the attributes needed to bring in the women. What Doug lacks in people skills, however, he makes up for with determination when he sets his sights on one woman in particular … Amy (Ana Claudia Talancón). He musters all his know-how and makes his move to insert himself into her world by any means necessary.
The plan starts out simple enough as Doug spies on his target, learns her routine, and when the time is right, breaks into her apartment to wire up his own reality show with Amy as the star. Every time the audience enters Amy’s home, they see it exactly the same way Doug does: through the same cameras. Though it’s creepy, there is no doubt that this can boost the man’s chances of hitting it off right. As long as he keeps his cool.
Eventually after many tries, failures, and a murder, Doug finds himself closer to Amy than he ever thought possible. He finally has everything he wanted. She is in his arms, he is in her bed, and then …. that’s as far as I am going to spoil things.
Eric Nicholas may not have many directing credits under his belt, but he has a style that could put him up on top of the game. The way in which Alone With Her is both shot and played out feels almost too real. The entire world in which Doug operates is always seen through his cameras; there’s rarely ever an outside source. This does lead to some limitations such as action not making its way to the center of the camera’s eye, but at the same time it adds healthy doses of reality and paranoia. Doug doesn’t have to see everything to know everything. He is the God of Amy’s world. If she defies him, he will punish her (i.e., her job loss due to him stealing her laptop and files). If she pleases him, then he will reward her by pushing her painting career along or finding her lost dog. The man has so much power but so little confidence, and that will be his undoing.
Colin Hanks’ performance of Doug never comes off as overly nerdy or shy. He really cashes in on the slightly uneasy feeling he transmitted in King Kong, and there’s no doubt his future is bright. The same can be said of Ana Claudia Talancón. Not once does she shift into a glamorous, unreachable object for Doug. She’s just a regular girl with common problems who just happens to catch the eye of an obsessive oddball. The greatest tragedy is that Doug could have her if only he would calm down and talk to her.
While heavy on style we never get camera trickery shoved down our throats. Being that we live in a cinema world of shaky cams and fast editing, this comes as a relief. However, there is a negative to the way in which the story is told. Although Alone With Her only runs at about an hour and twenty minutes, at times it feels too long. The pace is what hurts the picture as a whole. The characters are great, the actors are great, the pragmatism is unsurpassed, but one can’t help but ask — “Is something going to happen already?!?!” For all the build-up, the revelation that Amy is being spied on and the consequences caused by such actions feel rushed and almost tacked on. Alone With Her may never really bow to any standard thriller conventions, but it closes with a sigh. It doesn’t need explosions, big chase scenes, or a ton of gore; but it would help to feel something in the end aside from a missed mark.
Though Alone With Her does have its negatives, this film chills and hits every paranoia button perfectly. Never once are we pounded over the head with messages about how the Internet/webcams can be evil spying tools or how big brother could be anywhere at any time in our homes. The film stays far away from political themes, and everything is well contained and thought out but just a tad bit slow.
Commentary by writer/director Eric Nicholas
4 out of 5
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