Eye of the Beheld
YOU ARE NOT ALONE
“He’s been watching you…”
Director/Writer: Derek Mungor / Writer: Chris O’Brien / Cast: Krista Dzialoszynski, David O’Brien, Nikki Pierce, Keenan Camp, Mary Mikva, Eric Wood.
Body Count: 3?
This film would be awesome if there’d been a scene of somebody waking up in the dark, hearing the titular Michael Jackson song playing in another room. Seriously, how creepy would that be?
Given that early slasher films keyed heavily on voyeurism, with many-a-POV shot as mystery killers floated down high school corridors, up staircases in suburban houses, and around cabins at summer camps, it’s somewhat surprising it’s taken this long for somebody to flip-reverse it to the main character’s eye-view of things.
Of course, final girls were attributed the odd POV shot to establish them as being able to ‘see’, unlike their doomed friends, but a whole movie shout exclusively through her eyes? New turf. And the Maniac remake doesn’t count.
Disappointingly, You Are Not Alone functions as a bare-bones horror film at most, taking almost an hour before anything remotely resembling terror begins: We don’t follow our heroine Natalie, we are her as she returns home from school in New York to the small town of Walnut, IL, for July 4th celebrations.
We get collected by her brother from the airport, listen to his trivial dialogue, go see her grandma, walk around, go to some fireworks, go to a party, go home a bit drunk. If any of these ventures meant anything later, they’d be tolerable, but none of the people she goes to see appear again to die, help, laugh, whatever.
Then we see a man loitering outside the house and YANA finally gets a little bit scary. Alone in the house, Natalie/we call her brother, and yell at the guy to bugger off, but he comes back and, in the film’s scariest moment, runs at the door – at us.
Natalie/we hide, escape, run to a house across the street after being attacked and witness the homeowner slain before the killer torments her/us until another escape followed by lots and lots of walking and running around empty buildings.
I just couldn’t get along with You Are Not Alone. While the concept is interesting, there’s just not enough to suspend it for long enough. As a slasher opus, there’s only one definite demise. As an indie film, while it looks the part and the performances come off as natural and realistic, leading actress Krista Dzialoszynski’s face never appears, not even in a reflection, distancing the audiences relationship with ‘ourselves’.
She makes bad decisions on ‘our’ behalf, so much so it was almost a case of trying to steer the camera left when she went right, walks away from people trying to help her towards darker, less-inhabited locations, and still the mask-less, pedestrian killer follows.
A balls-to-the-wall slasher experience or a 25-minute duration might have made this more interesting. With several friends introduced, only for them to vanish from the film, it seems an opportunity for the filmmakers to really put ‘us’ through hell is completely missed. As a character supposed to represent us, little is done to fill Natalie out – she’s a blank canvas, possibly in the hope that a cross-section of viewers will identify more easily, but ultimately she has little to do and is far more of a fleeing victim than a final girl.