@TigersMS78 takes on first person thriller/horror You Are Not Alone…
Derek Mungor’s You Are Not Alone is a two act film, in the same way that Wolf Creek & Hostel are. You Are Not Alone is totally different to these films but the setup is the same. You spend time with the characters and then they are thrown headlong into a nightmarish scenario. For this to be effective the lead in must be done slowly and methodically. Now this is where others may call a film boring or the first half of the film ‘filler’ but with out this setup there is no pay off.
The film starts with Natalie (Krista Dzialoszynski) arriving home for the 4th of July weekend. A chance to catch up with her friends and in general just chill out as you should when you see old friends. As the day wears on the characters get a few warnings that there is someone thrill killing random people and that there is a curfew in effect but with the town of Walnut being so small that no one is really that worried about it, of course that all changes when a tipsy Natalie leaves the party, walks home and falls asleep only to woken up by a knock on the door…
Similar to the Maniac remake this film is a POV film from start to finish but this film has no cheat shots thrown in. Throughout the film, you are in Natalie’s shoes and you experience what she experiences. This works both for and against the film. It gives you a feeling of claustrophobia in that you can’t escape because you can’t see outside of what the characters sees which helps ratchet up the tension but conversely it does limit the shots that could’ve been made if the film was a traditional third person film. In the day time the streets look like your average suburbia, it looks and feels safe. However at night and with fireworks going off in the background (a terrific scene) it makes them seem downright menacing. That’s also how the the halves of the film work as well, light and dark with the content matching it. As night falls the slow burn of film starts to take effect and you’re wondering what will happen and when – a throw away announcement that two children are missing after the local fireworks display (a nod to Halloween given the children’s names) it almost signifies the moment that the film turns.
The acting has a lot of improvisation about especially in the first half of the film but that is ok as everyone is trying to be a natural as possible to give the film a day in the life of… feel to it but everyone does quite well, especially Dzialoszynski in what must have a been a challenging shoot. The second half of the film seems less improvised especially where and how the camera is placed, its a testament to some very good directing from Mungor that the film comes up with some genuinely creepy shots whilst still maintaining the POV aspect. The score certainly adds to the suspense, a very modern score but with a hint old school about it.
With low budget films (You Are Not Alone certainly doesn’t look it) you get a few issues and yes whilst there is the occasional blip from the actors, a few moments of character stupidity (which lets be honest wouldn’t be the first time and certainly won’t be the last we see that in a horror/thriller), a setup that could probably be about five minutes shorter and a moment or two of plot points that draw you out of the film. You Are Not Alone succeeds on most levels, it isn’t a scary film perse but it manages to unsettle you after the credits have rolled. Director/writer Mungor and writer Chris O’Brien have created a suspenseful horror/thriller that is certainly worth seeing.