HERE ALONE (2016) is another low-budget zombie flick, but its solid acting, able direction, and focus on story elevate it from the pack, making it a great watch.
The plot is fairly simple. Ann lives alone in upstate New York wilderness, having fled her home with her husband and baby during a raging epidemic that turns its victims into cannibalistic killers. She has developed the skills she needs to survive, though she’s struggling. When she comes across a man and his stepdaughter, she takes them in. On her own for so long and plagued by guilt, can she learn to live with others again, as she clearly needs to? And will her joining them produce new tensions that could threaten them all?
I got in a lot of trouble for liking WORLD WAR Z. It offered very little in the way of story, but it was the first zombie movie with a big budget and incredible effects, producing amazingly exciting set pieces even if I didn’t particularly care whether most of the characters lived or died. The thing is, most zombie movies at the time were lacking in telling a good story, telling stories about zombies with people instead of the other way around. A few gems were eventually produced that breathed new life into the genre, and HERE ALONE is one of them. The director ably keeps the zombies off screen most of the film, using the character’s terror and sound to produce a real sense of dread. Instead, he focuses on Ann, her slowly revealed backstory explaining her guilt and reluctance to become a part of a pack again, and her growing relationship with two other survivors, who bring their own baggage to the mix. The whole comes across as natural and convincing. While the ending doesn’t quite pay off all these elements, I enjoyed the film as something both familiar and new in zombie world.