He Knows You're Alone DVD Review
Written by Daniel Benson
DVD released by Warner Home Video
Directed by Armand Mastroianni
Written by Scott Parker
1980, Region 1 (NTSC), 94 Minutes, Rated R
DVD released on October 5th, 2004
Don Scardino as Marvin
Caitlin O'Heaney as Amy Jensen
Elizabeth Kemp as Nancy
Tom Rolfing as Ray Carlton (The Killer)
Lewis Arlt as Det. Len Gamble
Patsy Pease as Joyce
James Rebhorn as Prof. Carl Mason
Tom Hanks as Elliot
Amy Jensen (Caitlin O'Heaney) is a young bride-to-be who is unsure about her forthcoming wedding to her chauvinistic boyfriend. As if her confusion wasn't bad enough, her ex boyfriend Marvin (Don Scardino), a caring and loyal — if a little childish — admirer, is still interested in re-establishing their relationship.
To make Amy's concerns about her choice of husband pale into insignificance, serial killer Ray Carlton is in town and has a penchant for killing brides to be and their friends. Years earlier, Ray was jilted by his girlfriend and turned up to kill her on her wedding day. Unfortunately for Ray, he chose the wrong girl to kill as she was the future wife of police detective Len Gamble (Lewis Arlt) who has made it his obsession to track down the killer.
After a few years, with few leads to go on, Gamble has all but given up. But after a different girl is killed in movie theatre, Gamble hears that she was due to get married and his personal crusade is back on.
Everything about this movie is bad. Everything.
Amy and her 'teen' friends are played by actresses who are obviously well into their late twenties, which knocks the viewer sideways when asked to believe these girls are still at school. The musical hook which accompanies the killer's prowling is ripped straight from Carpenter's music from Halloween. I won't even give it the benefit of saying it is inspired by Carpenter, it is pure plagiarism.
It seems the only notable thing about this movie is that it was the first movie appearance of Tom Hanks. Doubtless, he shines as a young bit-part actor, but even his brief time onscreen (in a few scenes toward the end of the movie) couldn’t cure my lassitude.
There is no tension in the movie, mainly due to the fact there is no mystique about the killer. His frequent onscreen appearances consist primarily of a close-up of his bulging staring-eyed face, which looks so forced it is laughable. His weapon of choice is a knife, which we see briefly flash into the air before the death scene cuts away to some other mundanity. At one point, Mastroianni attempts to re-create one of the famous shower scene from Psycho, and misses the mark by a mile. Instead of feeling the suspense, I found myself asking, "Why is he ripping off another movie?"
There are three things that make an entertaining slasher movie; an unstoppable killer with a terrifying screen presence (Halloween), a series of inventive 'you know they're coming' death scenes (Friday the 13th series), or complete mystery surrounding the identity of the killer, until the crucial reveal turns around the viewer's conception (Haute Tension). When examined against the highpoints of the genre, He Knows You're Alone contains nothing to put it among the greats and ends up the most excruciatingly dull 94 minutes one could imagine.
I searched really hard to find anything of merit in this movie at all; Some glimpse of an idea which may have inspired later slasher flicks, some unique set piece which wasn't seen before and hasn't been seen since. Sadly, He Knows You're Alone stands as the perfect lesson on how not to make a slasher movie.
Video and Audio:
A reasonable presentation, the original film stock looks grainy but only as much as the age would define. Colours are slightly muted and there is an overall muddy brown look to the film.
Only a Mono soundtrack on the movie, but dialogues are clear and easily audible. The overall balance is comfortable and easy on the ear.
- Commentary Track Featuring Director director Armand Mastroianni and screenwriter Scott Parker
- Theatrical Trailer