With the early constraints of the pandemic, filmmakers were forced to get creative with what little means they had at their disposal, enabling their imagination to run rampant. Filmed in New York City during the start of COVID, co-directors and co-writers Emily Bennett and Justin Brooks’ debut psychological thriller Alone With You takes place primarily in a single two-story apartment, in turn causing an air of claustrophobia as a young woman inevitably comes to terms with a bitter truth she’s been unwilling to face.
Preparing for her distant girlfriend Simone (Emma Myles)’s flight home, Charlie (also played by director Emily Bennett) patiently awaits their romantic reunion. Decorating her Brooklyn apartment walls with her girlfriend’s photography and penchant for grotesque artwork, Charlie eventually senses something has gone awry after clashing online communication with her best friend and mother causes friction in their relationships and yet she still hasn’t received word from Simone. Her FaceTime call with her mother (Barbara Crampton) devolves into an argument after learning her grandmother has passed away and Charlie’s reputation being a disgrace to the family. Meanwhile her friend progressively gets more inebriated over the phone and isn’t around to help after discovering she’s locked within her own apartment.
Utilizing flashbacks of Charlie and Simone’s relationship, tensions arise once we find out Simone has unfaithful tendencies coupled with their argumentative and unstable dynamic. Despite Alone With You’s simplistic setting, Bennett and Brooks construct a confining and haunting space within the apartment’s two levels. Lifeless mannequins covered with white sheets are stored in a dark, somber corner and time is rendered meaningless as Charlie is physically restricted within her own shuttered home and her mental stability begins to unravel. Bennett does a phenomenal job portraying meek and demure before spiraling into insanity, her performance jarring yet believable.
While there are interesting and captivating aspects of Alone With You, the predictability of the story became apparent half way through the film, employing nods to David Lynch’s Lost Highway in particular. In that sense it lost much of its horror elements but still staked claim to prove itself an absorbing and compelling watch.