Shot in 2016 as “Unwanted” director Eduardo Rodriguez (Fright Night 2, El Gringo) and writer Andrew Wong’s You’re Not Alone pits a woman and her estranged daughter against something sinister sharing their home. And if you think you’ve seen this all before, you’re not alone.
Emma (Katia Winter, The Wave, Banshee Chapter) hasn’t always been the best of mothers. In fact, she hasn’t been much of a mother at all. But with the death of her estranged husband, she finds herself with custody of her daughter Isla (Leya Catlett), and of their house. This doesn’t sit well with the girl or her grandmother.
As soon as they move in strange things start happening. Alarms go off for no reason, dead birds turn up in the yard, strange figures in the windows. Emma herself seems haunted by flashbacks to her life before she and Emma’s father separated. A past that includes a suicide attempt. As she tries to build a relationship with her daughter, Emma finds them haunted by demons, both personal and literal ones.
After a fast first few minutes, You’re Not Alone settles down as the script lets the mother/daughter relationship build while filling in some backstory. That includes introducing us to her old friend Ashley (Emmy James, Tower of Silence, Sarah Q) and ex-boyfriend Mark (Zach Avery, Trespassers).
And if this sounds familiar, it’s because it is, right down to the feline induced jump scares. Rodriguez does manage to get some suspense out of these familiar situations. But it’s hard to maintain that suspense when you can guess most of the cast’s fates moments after they’re introduced.
You’re Not Alone did manage to catch me off guard in the last fifteen or so minutes. But that was only by pulling the climax out of the scriptwriter’s ass. It isn’t just a case of misdirecting the audience, it’s a total cheat. And leaves a couple of huge plot holes unexplained. However, it is the most exciting part of the film so I probably shouldn’t complain.
From a technical standpoint, the film certainly is well done, the cinematography and score manage to make a very ordinary suburban house feel creepy on more than one occasion. The acting from Winter and Catlett is also excellent, which makes it easier to overlook the script’s flaws. In the end, You’re Not Alone is a well made film with some good moments. It just can’t overcome a weak and predictable script.
You’re Not Alone is available to stream via ITN.