Wednesday, 13 August 2014

You Are Not Alone (2011)

Here’s another film with lovely box art and a nice cardboard sleeve, something which is becoming a bit of a warning sign for quality in films I’ve never heard of before. The cover of YOU ARE NOT ALONE is intriguing for two reasons, however. There’s a picture of Glastonbury Tor on the front (the film is indeed set in and around Glastonbury), and the credits boast Mark SLAUGHTER HIGH Ezra as the writer and director. Seeing as I’m a sucker for British horror films, especially ones set locally and from a director with a pedigree in trash cinema, I couldn’t resist this one. 
Also known as HOUSE TRAP and HOUSE SWAP in different territories, Ezra’s movie is a found footage home invasion horror. Personable American couple Matt Powsey (Nathan Nolan) and Ginny Baker (Evie Brodie) move to Glastonbury for creative reasons - he’s writing a screenplay about King Arthur, and she is a composer. They’ve arranged their move by swapping their Californian residence with the Somerset couple who own the house. As soon as they get there strange things start happening. There are weird noises in the night, objects go missing, and for some reason the previous residents have installed security cameras for what they subsequently reveal was a problem with a stalker. 

I won’t say any more in case you fancy watching this yourself. YOU ARE NOT ALONE starts off very well indeed, with an act of casual local violence that will have you wondering if this is going to turn into a Somerset version of STRAW DOGS. It doesn’t but it certainly helps to rack up the suspense straight away. The house in which all the mayhem occurs is a deliciously authentic Tudor mansion, and a dream of a creepy location that Ezra makes the most of. In fact, the first ten minutes of this are a neat summary of why American tourists might be petrified of ever venturing into rural England. The acting is decent and Ezra makes good use of the found footage style to spring a few genuinely suspenseful shocks during the running time. Don’t be expecting a classic, however. The pace is sluggish at times, which is a shame because, with a little more incident, YOU ARE NOT ALONE could have been a halfway decent little thriller. As it is it’s not at all bad. Sadly, the film can’t quite overcome that old bugbear of this genre - the need to carry a camera everywhere to document what’s happening - and it’s begging for more of a punchy ending. As it is, the killer’s lair is pleasingly twisted and there’s obviously a bit of inspiration here from FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2.
         There are no extras, which is a shame as I wouldn’t have minded a featurette on the making of it, but otherwise YOU ARE NOT ALONE is actually a reasonably well made micro budget effort with some decent scares and a genuine sense of uneasiness. 

Mark Ezra's YOU ARE NOT ALONE is out on Region 2 DVD from 101 Films. 

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