I Am Alone Movie Review
Written by Greg Fisher
Directed by Robert A. Palmer
Written by Robert A. Palmer and Michael A. Weiss
2015, 88 minutes, Rated R
Gareth David-Lloyd as Jacob Fitts
Gunner Wright as Mason Riley
Katy Bodenhamer as Alexa Fitts
Marshal Hilton as Dr. Marlow
Rory Zacher as Adam Levine
I Am Alone is a deeply frustrating movie. For every unique venture it takes to push itself ahead of the glutted found footage horror genre, it takes several staggers backward thanks to ill-advised decisions from the filmmakers. In essence, there are three stories occurring in the movie. We start with the frame story, shown in infuriatingly cheap-looking security footage, where cameraman Mason Riley (played by Gunner Wright) is being interrogated by scientist Dr. Marlow (Marshal Hilton) about what happened to the host of Riley's survival show. The two watch the literal found footage recovered from the zombie of host Jacob Fitts (Gareth David-Lloyd), and try to figure out how he resisted the zombie viruus for so long after he was bitten. The third story, for no good reason, is also shown in footage of Mason during the initial outbreak, and his heroic efforts to reunite with Fitts.
The scenes of Dr. Marlow and Mason in the underground CDC bunker are laughably awful. The bumper scenes in MST3K have better set design and budget. A pixelated ticker bought from Walmart announces that the room is free from virus, and a tube television/VCR combo on a wheeled cart straight from any third grade classroom is the best that the CDC can do to play back the GoPro footage that was recovered. Marshal Hilton as Dr. Marlow would have been better served as the host on a UHF weekend horror movie marathon than in a movie of any reputable budget. He doesn't chew the scenes as much as gnaw and choke on them.
Equally ridiculous is the storyline of Mason trying to at first get B footage for the television show when the virus outbreak begins, and then running through the countryside trying to battle zombies and find his friend Fitts. The filmmakers seemed dead-bent on creating an action hero out of Gunner Wright, letting him don armor and duke it out with zombies, then spirit away on a four wheeler. The problem with this is twofold. First, this whole storyline completely breaks the convention of found footage. In almost every scene with Mason where we are not seeing him through his own GoPro, there is absolutely no reason that he would have a camera on him. This leads to flimsy premises such as security cameras in a cow barn. Second, Wright simply doesn't have the charisma to make the viewer want to see him being a badass. His character is flat, tired, and boring.
The brightest note in the film is David-Lloyd. His character of Jacob Fitts is cut in the vein of Bear Grylls and Les Stroud, yet he makes the character his own. He is exaclty what we are missing in Wright – charismatic, believable, and well-rounded. Perhaps the biggest treat for the audience is the scene where infected-yet-still-human Fitts hides in a tree stand as a swarm of zombies begins congregating at the base of the tree. Wordlessly, we watch the terror on his face turn to hopeless horror as he watches the zombies lose interest in him, and we see him realize they no longer identify his as human and an enemy. This is what makes the movie so frustrating: had they decided to make it a film simply showing Fitts alone in the wilderness, dealing with his slowly creeping infection and the zombies around him, we would have seen a much better and more gratifying movie. For every clunky line Mason foists on the audience, Fitts says so much more with silence. This is the story that seems to be portrayed in the trailer, not the schizophrenic mess the audience is given.