WE ARE NOT ALONE (OCTOBER 2ND)


YOU'VE GOT RED ON YOU TAKES PART IN THE 31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN CHALLENGE; WATCHING ONE HORROR MOVIE A DAY THROUGHOUT OCTOBER. SOME OF THEM OLD, SOME OF THEM NEW, SOME OF THEM HAVE JUST BEEN ON OUR SHELVES FOR YEARS GATHERING DUST, STILL IN CELLOPHANE...

The decision making process for today's pick was admittedly influenced by the fact that I had to be out of the house and on my way to celebrate my mum's birthday. To be precise, I only had a 90 minute window and I decided to scroll through Netflix and see what I could find. I have been known to spend an eternity trawling through streaming sites (yes, I really am that indecisive) but for once I knew I had to make a choice FAST.

I'd be lying if I said the biggest selling point of We Are Not Alone (No Estamos Solos) wasn't the 75 minute running time. It's a film that I was aware of but I hadn't actually managed to catch a trailer of – another plus point as far as I am concerned. So I kind of went it with no expectations. Plus, you know, it's a Peruvian horror film and I 'm not sure I've seen one of those before.

The set up is pretty standard. Workaholic dad Mateo moves his daughter and girlfriend to a remote and spooky house for no obvious reason. His young daughter, Sofia, isn't over the death of her mother and she's still not on board with her dad's new found love. Monica, the girlfriend, is a photographer and is trying to make the best of the move (she clearly wants to be back in Lima) but grows ever more frustrated by Sofia's behaviour. However, Sofia's claims that there is someone in her room are initially brushed off as the over active imaginings of a wilful child. It's not too long before they realise that the house has a history – and that none of them are safe.

The first piece of advice I'd give for anyone interested in seeing this is to watch it at night, with the lights off if possible. There's not much light in this movie – and if like me you watch this during the day you might find yourself sitting there looking back at your own reflection in the TV for big chunks of the movie. Director Daniel Rodriguez actually utilises the light very effectively to be fair. The use of dark and subdued tones is reminiscent of Scott Derrickson's Sinister and adds a sense of oppression to the interior shots.

The two biggest accusations that have been levelled at We Are Not Alone are that it is both unoriginal and unambitious – and I think that they are both fair criticisms. You can almost play horror movie bingo whilst watching the film. Family moves to a new house with a dark history? Check. A scary basement that people invariably decide to investigate on their own? Check. A ball is rolled around the house by an unseen force? Check. A scene where someone walks around a room where the furniture covered with white sheets although one of the pieces of furniture looks a little bit too human like to be a chest of drawers? Check. A priest shows up at some point? Check.

It doesn't really try and do anything new and seems content to borrow ideas from other horror movies, which makes for a rather uneventful movie going experience. However, its saving grace comes in the form of the person behind the camera and those in front of it. We Are Not Alone may not be anything more than a serviceable horror movie with a couple of semi-effective scares, but it's clear that Director Daniel Rodriguez knows what he's doing and manages to put together a film that looks and feels very polished and rather atmospheric. The three leads all put in decent performances too. Zoe Arevalo (Sofia) is particularly charming as the little girl (who has a fondness for exorcism films ironically!) It's these aspects that elevate everything a little and stop it from being a totally forgettable experience.

We Are Not Alone is a bit of a slow-burner and whilst I love a movie that patiently cranks up the tension, the issue here is that there isn't much time to do that. The end result is that around 60 minutes in, it's just starting to get into third gear but a that point the movie is effectively over. It's a shame because I think with an extra twenty minutes or so would have helped big time but the reality is that the budget dictated the running time as much as the script.

All in all, fractionally better than the last entry (Frostbite) – but I'm hoping for better things going forward!

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