Alone with Her **
Directed by Eric Nicholas
Written by Eric Nicholas
Colin Hanks as Doug
Ana Claudia Talancón as Amy
Jordana Spiro as Jennifer
Jonathon Trent as Matt
78 Minutes(This Film is Not Rated-Nudity, Violence, Language)
There is no doubt in my mind that "Alone with Her" is a creepy, unsettling thriller, but it just isn't a very good one. This is a standard stalker story, tried and true, and the only thing that makes it the least bit different from stalker films of the past is the way it tells the story. Made with a dirt cheap budget, "Alone with Her" is told from only twelve different camera angles-all hidden cameras that the stalker hides along his victims house. We can only see what the stalker can see, and we can only see what is in the way of the camera. The creepy thought of not being able to see anything could have been used effectively here, but it never is. We pretty much see everything, but some screams out of camera view could have been some good effect. But this is the eventual problem with this film-it treads no new grounds, and is your standard stalker thriller. I suppose the film making method is a gimmick, and one that stops being creepy about half way in. This gimmick can't hold up for the films entire length, which is so short that length shouldn't be a problem.
"Alone with Her" tells the story of Doug, a man who puts his video camera in a duffel bag every morning and takes a walk around his neighborhood. He makes sure he gets some extra special camera shots of women, never failing to go up their skirt. And then he sets his lens on someone more special to him, Amy Ruis, who he begins to obsess over. He follows her home, and sneaks into her apartment when she leaves. He does the usual stalker things-laying in her bed, smelling her pillows, licking the comb that she used the night before in an uncompromising position. He then goes the extra mile and goes to the electronic store, buying twelve hidden cameras and putting them in all different areas of the apartment-certainly not forgetting the view that directly faces the shower. Doug begins to eavesdrop at all times in Amy life, but gets heartbroken and angered when her friend Jennifer convinces her to go out with Matt, a man who she works with. Doug decides that he has to enter her life, and takes on the persona of a "nice guy" who she meets at the coffee shop. Doug is always there for her-offering to make a web site so that she could sell her art work, offering to take her to the hospital when she needs stitches done, and helping her out when she looses her job. But of course we know that he probably caused the accident that led to the stitches, as well as doing what happened which led to her job being lost, just so that he could come sweeping in at the right moment. And he makes sure that she is always sick whenever she could have a date with Matt-even going so far as to put something in her bed to lead to a nasty rash. And she might even find herself falling for him a little bit to. . .
This is a very strange film to watch because of the hidden camera method that is used. For example, you feel weird even considering the lovely Ana Claudia Talancón attractive, because the entire time you feel like this creepy, sweaty stalker guy watching her. The shower scenes have no enjoyment, and end up being kind of gross-and don't even get me started on the bedroom scenes. But after the halfway mark, the cameras stop being an interesting method, and they aren't an annoyance. They are just there, and you realize that there is nothing really new being explored here. We've seen this kind of story before, and the camera gimmick is just a way to try and make it seem edgy and new. And by the third act you can guess all the surprises minutes before they happen, and it stops even becoming interesting. By the ominous end, the last seventy-five minutes seem more like two hours, and I was shocked to learn when I walked out of the theatre that only a mere hour and fifteen minutes had passed.
Colin Hanks takes a trip away from his normal nice guy persona into an evil and creepy character that I don't think his father Tom ever took on. There are indeed moments where he seduces the viewer into his nice-guy charm, and when you see his reaction to Amy going out on a date, there is a mere fraction of a second where you almost feel sorry for him, and then you see that he is watching all of this from a camera and this sympathy just goes away. Both Hanks and Talacon have enough to carry this whole film, as most of it is just them two anyway, but their script doesn't allow them to walk on any new grounds. Doug ends up being a stalker and Amy the victim, and nothing more. Talacon also tries to show some kind of third dimension in her character-namely in one scene where she is playing with her dog in the park. She notices a couple, tenderly kissing on a blanket by a tree, and she looks at them with tears in her eyes. It is little moments like these where I am grateful for actors to try and mold a bad script into something halfway decent. There are a few director choices that I was happy with as well-one of them being the lack of music throughout. It does add to the intense realism that this has, and to add some suspenseful music during the movie heavy scenes would have broken away from this. "Alone with Her" tries to break away from the typical thriller with its film making method, but it doesn't try to break away from it with the script, which is always more important. It's an interesting shot, but nothing special.