We may have reached saturation point but the zombie and found footage sub-genres continue to shuffle in. I Am Alive sandwiches them both together in a film that may not be entirely original but still has some merit to it.
A television crew attempt to film another episode of survivalist TV show I Am Alone in the American Rockies but they get wrapped up in a zombie outbreak.
I Am Alone uses its Bear Grylls/Ray Mears survivalist television show as a useful justification for the common found footage problem of ‘Why are they still filming this?’. On one side, we have Jacob (Gareth David-Lloyd), the presenter of the show I Am Alone, who is laden with GoPro cameras to film his survivalist exploits. After he is bitten his story then becomes about charting his gradual decline to the zombie infection. This is the most effective part of I Am Alive, helped in no short part by David-Lloyd being the best actor in the film. David-Lloyd effectively portrays the desperation and breakdown of a man who realises that he is in serious trouble and tries to keep the hope of his survival intact as he attempts to make it to safety.
The film is not big on in your face gore effects, so a lot of Jacob’s breakdown is portrayed through his deteriorating mental state. This section works most effectively as Jacob is an enjoyable character and he gives us the most emotional investment in the film. The cameras he is left with become a personal diary to him, as he attempts to keep filming footage for the series and charting his own decline, though you do still sometimes wonder why he takes the time and effort to create effective two camera framing shots while in such obvious bodily pain and degradation.
On the other side of the film are Mason (Gunner Wright) and Adam (Rory Zacher), the two crewmembers who go to film interviews with locals and then attempt to find Jacob. Their section is more the action side of the film with them mostly running away from infected zombies. Here the conceit works less well as you really do wonder why they bother attaching cameras to themselves before running into life and death situations. This section works better to begin with as we see the confusion as things start to fall apart but is less interesting when it’s just people running from zombies. It also hints at some of the madness that could occur during an outbreak but never runs with that idea which is a shame.
Wrapping around these two parts is an attempt at a framing narrative as Mason is interviewed in a scientific bunker in the hope that the videos can help find a cure. This is a largely unnecessary attempt to justify us seeing the tapes that doesn’t really add anything and at worst interrupts the flow and slows things down as it takes away focus from Jacob’s more interesting story.
Though it doesn’t bring anything new to the table and isn’t all entirely successful, I Am Alone is an enjoyable if forgettable entry into the zombie and found footage subgenres.
I AM ALONE / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: ROBERT A. PALMER / SCREENPLAY: ROBERT A. PALMER, MICHAEL A. WEISS / STARRING: GARETH DAVID-LLOYD, GUNNER WRIGHT, RORY ZACHER / RELEASE DATE: TBA