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'Alone (Sola)': a visceral horror survival thriller that thrives on the simplicity of its cat and mouse game

'Alone' is a survival horror thriller released on Movistar + that works almost like a dark fairy tale to warn of danger. A bit in the way that 'Freeway' (1996) updated the tale of Little Red Riding Hood with a perverse Kiefer Sutherland, who looks a lot like the villain presented by this new version of the Swedish film 'Gone' (Försvunnen, 2011) directed by John Hyams, the son of Peter Hyams, an increasingly efficient artisan of goods.

Curiously, 2020 saw another film titled 'Alone' (2020), which is also a remake of another film, 'Live' (2020), but the one that deserves the most attention and our time is this simple story of cat and mouse In the woods. It tells nothing new but it works because the story just moves forward with tension, the characters are interesting, and screenwriter Mattias Olsson adapts his 2011 work avoiding the filler that traditionally accompanies Hollywood remakes.

Road psychopath film tradition and survival in the woods
The plot follows Jessica (Jules Willcox), a recent widow who tries to put her past behind her by fleeing to the desert of the Pacific Northwest. Her plans literally derail when she encounters a sinister assassin who leads her to a series of unfortunate events that turn her journey into a harrowing escape in the middle of nowhere, unaided in the face of a more insidious predator than she is. that she could imagine.

The premise is so simple that any average criminal movie buff can foresee what's to come next, but that menu-of-the-day approach doesn't stop the pacing from being snappy and allows Hyams to turn those expectations in their favor to hit audiences over and over again. time, so if you're expecting the worst, you probably get it. Rather than exposing the lurid elements with detailed horror film staging, there is an omniscient observer naturalism that empathizes with the helplessness of its protagonist.

'Alone' is divided into chapters, with short titles like "The river" or "The clearing", and each section proposes a subtle parallel with Jessica's psychological situation, with an incarnation of her psyche with the natural environment, a relationship that it can be found in great classics of survival with an invisible predator such as 'La prea' (Southern Comfort, 1981) by Walter Hill, or 'Rituals' (1977) and the importance of forests in them. But it is not a film full of subtext, beyond the double meaning of its title, about the loneliness that makes Jessica more vulnerable to a horror she suffers from her sex.

Narrative rotundity and efficiency without boasting
Hyams displays an elegant, often eerily calm atmosphere that suggests what might happen when confronting the 1970s thriller like 'The Devil on Wheels' (Duel, 1972) with other road classics featuring the figure of the fixated psychopath. by a specific victim such as 'Highway to Hell' (The Hitcher, 1986) or 'Deadly Highway' (Road Games, 1981), only adding the victim's gender change, which makes it more credible and mundane.

The impact of even small changes and gestures is viscerally felt in the story, as Hyams silently builds up a sense of anticipation and dread through an ever-increasing rhythm that a more conventional conductor might have attempted to develop with feverish montage or score. grandiloquent. ‘Alone’ prefers long shots that give contours to the space, informing the nightmare scenario that leaves air for its actors to interact with the environment.

Jules Wilcox and Marc Menchaca are precise in their roles and take the story to an emotional duel that ends in a very satisfactory way. 'Alone' is a small surprise that lives up to what a survival horror thriller should be, with a gritty tension that never fades into its brutal zigzag roller coaster, nor does it lose sight of where it is going. This endows the ensemble with a visceral narrative authority that increases the frequency of your heartbeat without cheap tricks and manages emotions and empathy without becoming overly maudlin. That the lack of originality is not a veil to see where there is well raised genre cinema.

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