YOU ARE NOT ALONE

PrintE-mail Written by Paul Mount

DVD REVIEW: YOU ARE NOT ALONE / CERT:18 / DIRECTOR: MARK EZRA / SCREENPLAY: MARK EZRA / STARRING: NATHAN NOLAN, EVIE BICKER, SIMON DUTTON, LOUISE HOUGHTON / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW

You Are Not Alone, written and directed by Mark (Slaughter High) Ezra, has been sitting on a shelf ignored and unloved since it was made in 2010. But, surprisingly, it’s actually a slightly-better-than-it-ought-to-be ‘found footage’ home invasion horror which generates a few thrills and jumps in amongst the credulity-straining behaviour of its characters and its chosen narrative format. In other words, our heroes do some bloody stupid things – generally involving rushing to grab their damned camcorder in times of direst danger and crisis.

Based on a true story (of course it is), You Are Not Alone (retitled from the original House Swap), sees would-be screenwriter Matt Powsey (Nolan) and his musician girlfriend Ginny Baker (Bicker) exchanging their Echo Park home for an unfeasibly huge mansion near Glastonbury for the summer. Almost immediately, bizarre things start to happen and it becomes clear that the house isn’t secure and that they’re… well, not alone pretty much covers it. Fortunately Matt is a camcorder fiend and he films just about everything and, just to be on the safe side, he sets up handy CCTV cameras around the house to capture the action the film really needs to ratchet up what it passes off as its ‘tension’.

The resulting movie is decent enough, if horribly generic. The two leads are affable, there’s a bit of atmospheric footage of Glastonbury Tor and there’s still plenty of mileage in creaking staircases, mysterious shadowy figures and the whole concept of someone invading the sanctity of home and hearth. But the film’s credibility (what’s left of it after its tortuous use of the ’found footage’ gimmick) is torpedoed by Ginny and Matt’s idiocy and the jumping-through-hoops illogicality of much of what they do when the spookiness starts. Matt finds out, by chatting via Skype to the house’s owner (former Saint Dutton), that the property is plagued by a stalker – but he doesn’t think to ask why and, most importantly, who. Towards the end of the film Ginny is being dragged around the house by her hair by the masked invader but she finds time through her terror to scream at Matt to “get the camera!” And don’t get us started on the inept yokel PC Plod who comes along to investigate the couple’s report of an unwanted intruder…

You Are Not Alone has its moments and its UK setting is a refreshing change from the typical Nowheresville, USA locales of most of these budget-price horrors. But ultimately it fails to convince because its protagonists are really just too stupid/stubborn to root for and, in the end, they deserve everything that’s coming to them.


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