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Cinema/TV, Film Notes

Film review – Alone (Final Days) (2020)

My notes on Alone (Final Days) (2020)

Another in the recent blip of use-a-title-which-is-on-several-other-films movies, this got stuck with a still-bland, not-exactly-unprecedented retitling for UK release.  From the synopsis, I wondered whether it was an English-language remake of La Nuit a Devore le Monde, but it’s just a very similar story.  Indeed, there have been a couple of other zombie apocalypse but seen from a confined perspective films (a toilet stall, a stuck lift, a hotel corridor) .  That said, it has an unusual zombie/infected variant – people bleeding from the eyes who scream in pain and shout things like ‘kill me’ but are also suddenly wiry parkour experts – and a surprisingly sweet feel for something so doom-haunted.  Plus this is among the first wave of its genre (cf: The Sadness) influenced by the actual pandemic and an experience of lockdown I suspect the filmmakers – writer Matt Naylor (this script also got filmed in Korea as #Alive, which I’ve not seen), director Johnny Martin (Hangman, Delirium) — have lived through rather than imagined.

When the pandemic hits, young-ish, unattached Aidan (Tyler Posey) shoves a heavy fridge up against his apartment door and stays put while his supplies dwindle and the utilities go out, all the time listening to screams and other sound effects that suggest carnage outside and inside the building.  Upsettingly, he hears his parents killed or infected on a phone message, and has no idea what happened to his sister.  Then he notices a girl, Eva (Summer Spiro), timidly curtain-twitching in an apartment across the way and they start to communicate by held-up signs and walkie-talkie (yes, Aidan and Eva – groan), with Aiden venturing out of his flat to forage for food, stirred to action by the notion that he isn’t after all alone.  Late in the film, he runs into elderly, polite Edward (Donald Sutherland) in an apartment they’re both raiding for peanut butter, twinkies and other non-degradables and have a lengthy, off-kilter chat that ends with Aidan bludgeoned and tied up as food for Edward’s tethered screamer wife (the infected are cannibals) – providing another snapshot of the lengths people will go not to be alone.

It earns its title – though it competes with Phil Claydon’s 2002 FrightFest selection, the French Seuls, an Indian ghost story from 2015, and three 2020 survival-type horror/thriller films – by concentrating on the theme of isolation.  Initially, Aidan is better fit to survive because he lives alone and is self-reliant, though psychologically that begins to tell on him, while in parallel Edward not being alone drives him mad and to extreme acts that cause him considerable pain (other cohabitees have killed and eaten each other).  It’s a short film, which I suspect was trimmed at some point – late in the day, it’s mentioned that Aidan has a stash of boiled water but we didn’t see him getting it.

 

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