Based on the Swedish thriller Försvunnen released in 2011; a film that was decent enough but lost in the inertia of the Nordic Noir phenomenon.
Here director John Hyams (Z Nation) attempts to add an American touch to the psychopathic stalker road trip movie in which he pushes his two lead performers to draw on all facets of his emotions.
Jules Wilcox (Teen Wolf, Bloodline) who plays Jessica, a woman who we learn has tragically lost her husband who took his own life. Pained by the memories of what transpired, Jessica packs up her belongings and leaves in her car and a rented hangar to start a new life. Only travelling alone across the Pacific Northwest she encounters a lone predator (Marc Menchaca – Ozark, Homeland) and from here on in we’re treated to a cat and mouse hunt that starts off as a nod to Steven Spielberg’s Duel and then shifts into a escape from imprisonment and a fight for survival in the midst of the vast, temperate rainforest.
Alone does struggle at times to shift through the gears between each plight that Jessica has to endure and the initial encounter with her stalker is a little lacking. If I’m completely honest, there’s no real indication of what lures our antagonist into Jessica’s path, but once ensnared the lack of motive is all the more sinister as the film draws on.
When the film hits its stride, the terror and turmoil is positively cruising and delightfully amps up the tension with equal measure. And we’ve nor even mentioned the delight in seeing Anthony Heald (The Silence of the Lambs) on screen. Always a pleasure to see.
In addition, I’d like to applaud the sound department who play delicately with one of cinema’s greatest senses to add to the ambience and fuel the fire of our growing trepidations.
This film requires patience. It may have a slow and faltering start, but once the motor starts running, the tension heightens and we steered through a grueling and entertaining fight for survival that leads to a strong and effective conclusion.
- Saul Muerte
Available to rent now via FOXTEL & FETCH
*Also screening at Ritz Cinemas, Randwick (NSW) & 5 Star Cinemas New Farm (Qld) from October 29