Thursday, June 07, 2012

Learning Hard, Bloody Lessons with All Alone: A Movie Review

*full disclosure: a DVD screener of this film was provided by Gravitas Ventures.

Director/writer: Jon Cellini.

Cast: Mandy Levin, Suzy Cote, David Haydn-Jones, Beth Navarro and Brice Williams.

Tagline: "It was the perfect murder until they turned on each other."

There is something in life that many adults learn. Some learn this lesson early while others learn it later. We are all alone in this world. This is a lesson that first time director and actor Jon Cellini reminds us of in his picture All Alone. Some of the characters in this picture such as Maggie (Mandy Levin) learn this message the hard way. Other characters embrace it, but bumble through murder plans. Few of the characters have each other's back and All Alone is a suitable thriller for an enjoyable late night.

Cellini keeps the setting simple and the characters few. He knows that the strength of his story is in the characters. This is an indie film. So, the production has constraints, but the story still manages to develop in an exciting fashion.

That story involves a plot of murder. The two plotting characters will not be revealed here. However, this reviewer was duped into thinking someone else was involved based on the trailer. That aside, the scheming involves a simple plan. Go camping, humiliate your victim and then send them to the abyss. Of course, something goes wrong for the killers and soon the murder plan spirals out of control. Someone decides to solve his/her problem with ever more bloodlust, which leaves the woods soaked in blood. Other problems might develop for the viewer.

Someone(s) in this photo dies!

One of the film's detriments involves its use or absence of themes. There is a reason that this film feels entertaining, but not much more. The film is not really unified by a strong theme. The strongest theme that this viewer could deduce involved the just world hypothesis. Basically, those in the film that do wrong find their comeuppance. This is quaint, but not often truthful (nor complex). There is a second smaller theme in the film involving trust. Can you really trust your partner who is scheming to kill another? Will they do the same to you, later? These are some interesting questions and it would have been interesting if director Cellini had explored these questions further.

What the film watcher is left with are a few missteps and a few excellent spots. On the positive, the acting is really good in this picture. All of the actors portray believable characters. Brice Williams as a confused Ben is especially good. He portrays ambivalence well. The story, as mentioned, is thrilling because of the characters. There are lots of exterior shots here and even some night shooting, which keeps the film visually interesting. On the negative, the lack of strong themes have been mentioned. As well, the musical score is a drawback. The score is inappropriate in some places. Is this a Christian revival? In other spots it accentuates the action. In other places, the music is completely missing. A musical score can help or hinder a film and here, it mostly hinders the events on the screen. Perhaps a limited budget hampered the score from finding its full potential. All of these film elements together still create for an above average indie thriller.

All Alone is now available on video-on-demand through various formats. The DVD will release June 12th and this reviewer would recommend this title for fans of thrillers. There are some double dealings here and some backstabbing about. Yet, the film needed a surprise or too. It would have been great to have seen the first victim return from the dead and from their "accident." However, events unfold somewhat predictably, just not for the killers. This a film that should be put on most indie thriller fans list. You just never know what will happen with a midnight viewing of scheming campers, guns, and greedy intentions.

Overall: 7 out of 10 (good writing, interesting characters, suitable action, music is okay, acting is strong).

More details on this film can be found at Osiris Entertainment:

All Alone at Osiris Ent.

The film's homepage is here:

All Alone's Official Website

Video-on-demand platforms for this title are listed here:

VOD Availability at Gravitas Ventures

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