I think “Here Alone” (2016) would disappoint a lot of casual zombie movie fans. It is admittedly quite slow, there is very little action, and the zombies mostly inhabit the story’s background.
I really liked it. It is a thoughtful, sensitive post-apocalyptic drama that is beautifully filmed in the mountains of upstate New York. The idyllic rural setting is a terrific contrast to the film’s brutal plot devices. And its naturalistic dialogue feels authentic — it’s either a very well written movie or its three principal actors are unusually good at improv. (The conversations flow so organically that the latter seems plausible.)
The movie focuses on three survivors of a horrifying epidemic. (The “zombies” here are of the “28 Days Later” variety, and turn murderous upon infection.) Although they remain off screen for much of the movie, we are reminded of their threat by some intermittent, hellish screams. (The sounds were perfect; it’s a nice touch that lent tension and atmosphere.)
All three leads — Lucy Walters, Adam David Thompson and Gina Piersanti — were outstanding. Walters’ performance was especially superb. Her portrayal of a bereaved young wife and new mother was understated and subdued, but powerful. She absolutely drew me in to the story. We visit via flashback the fates of her husband and infant, and some of what we see is truly heart-rending.
The movie’s surprising final shot stayed with me for a while. It’s ambiguous — maybe even confusing, at first. But it makes sense if you reflect a little about the dialogue concerning the characters’ coping mechanisms. It’s bittersweet, and seems to say something sad about survival and human attachments.
I’d give this an 8 out of 10, and I recommend it.