Alone at Night (2022) Review
Alone at Night, the copy I saw still carried the film’s original 18 & Over title, begins with a clip from a fake reality show “Trap Stars” hosted by a well past her expiration date Paris Hilton (House of Wax, Repo! The Genetic Opera). This plays in the background as some guy (rapper G-Easy) and the escort (model Winnie Harlow) mess around before The Crowbar Killer disposes of him while she’s fixing her makeup.
An opening sequence featuring three has-beens ending in a weak murder, not a great start for a film. Unfortunately, Alone at Night manages to go downhill from there. Vicky (Ashley Benson, Pretty Little Liars, The Loneliest Boy in the World) gets a ride from her friend Stacy (Sky Ferreira, Lords of Chaos, Green Inferno) who promptly gives her the wheel because “I’m too hungover to drive”.
Stacy also feels bad for causing Vicky’s breakup with the guy we just saw murdered. Apparently, neither of these two geniuses thought he might object to Vicky taking up a career as a cam girl. As it turned out her sugar daddy didn’t want to share, leaving her broke and homeless. This is why she’s heading out to a cabin owned by Stacy’s family to do a week of heavy camming on the site “18 & Over” and make some money.
Director Jimmy Giannopoulos and co-writer Diomedes Raul Bermudez who previously collaborated on the crime film The Birthday Cake, introduce us to a stream of extremely unlikable characters as they set up Alone at Night’s “cabin in the woods” plot. They even give us more excerpts from “Trap Stars”, Vicky’s favourite show, to make sure we have plenty of reasons to hate humanity.
Vicky gets settled into the cabin we get the usual power goes out gag, and equally, unsurprisingly the handyman (John Robinson, The Amityville Murders, Transformers) tells her the line was cut. A drugged-out pizza delivery guy (Duke Nicholson channelling his grandfather Jack) tells her the cabin has a bloody history, a family having been tortured and killed there. Then Sheriff Rogers (Pamela Anderson, Barb Wire, Scary Movie 3) turns up in time for a false alarm involving the cabin’s open front door.
And that is what Alone at Night has to offer. Stale slasher clichés and cameo appearances by those desperate to extend, or to get, their fifteen minutes of fame. It’s as if so much of the filmmakers’ time and effort went into signing up this bizarre cast that they didn’t have time to do more than string together a collection of overused plot elements and call it a script.
But that probably shouldn’t be a surprise, as the film was originally released as an NFT. The folk behind this mess actually thought people would pay $263 for a crappy piece of character art and a digital copy of this film. If you paid $6.99 to stream this, you’re probably feeling pretty ripped off.
And you have every right to feel that way. A film can be composed of clichés and still be enjoyable if it carries them off with some style and energy. Alone at Night just methodically wanders from one to the next, characters show up long enough to establish themselves as potential threats and then vanish, which makes the identity of the film’s real threat easy to guess. The body count is extremely low, and the kills are unimaginative and dull.
The twist at the end is either a stupid attempt at being clever or an attempt to make some kind of profound statement about entertainment and the voyeurism and exhibitionism that goes into both camming and reality TV. But the filmmakers don’t have nearly enough talent to pull that off. But then again, what do you expect from a film aimed at people stupid enough to pay $263 dollars for a picture?