So the most recent season of “The Walking Dead” was a bust, and you’ve already seen the awesome Korean zombie movie Train to Busan. What is the consumer hungry for fresh zombie lore to do? Sadly, the answer is not the post-apocalyptic thriller Here Alone, an indie that trades big budget gore for an uninspired small-budget drama.

We meet Ann (Lucy Walters) in the woods, covered in mud that she washes off in a river. How did she come to this primitive existence? The film alternates between her stark routine of survival and flashbacks to life with her husband Jason (Shane West) and newborn baby. As we see Ann scrounge for food, we learn that her family left behind a civilization on the verge of a massive outbreak and headed for the woods where Jason learned to go camping and survive outdoors.

Ann is clearly alone as the film begins, so these flashbacks begin to tell us what went wrong in the world and how she has managed to stay alive on her own. The mud camo, you see, disguises her scent from the bloodthirsty creatures, and she collects her own blood in jars to use as bait while she scavenges.

If this sounds like a small-scale version of “The Walking Dead,” it is, though when Ann meets two more survivors, Chris (Adam David Thompson) and his step-daughter Olivia (Gina Piersanti), the movie becomes less an ensemble drama and more dystopian chamber piece. Ann and Chris both have regrets about the lives they left behind and the unspeakable acts they were forced to commit. Can there be redemption in a new relationship? The zombie apocalypse raises difficult questions, but these are questions asked every week on AMC and in movies like Shaun of the Dead, Night of the Living Dead, and more.

While the particulars of this survivalist movie are old hat, the filmmakers’ previous work gives it some subtext. Writer David Ebeltoft and director Rod Blackhurst previously worked together on a short film called “Alone Time,” about a young woman who leaves the hustle and bustle of New York City for a remote lake in the Adirondacks. Blackhurst was one of the co-directors of last year’s documentary Amanda Knox, about the exchange student convicted of killing her roommate in Italy. These projects share a curious interest in the trials and tribulations of women in difficult circumstances. How should a coed abroad behave? What is a young mother to do when her baby is threatened by a seemingly unstoppable virus?

Ebeltoft’s script for Here Alone addresses some of the conflicts of the post-apocalyptic human, who must endure a series of tragedies and can’t dwell on civilized sentiments, otherwise they’ll go mad. The movie gets better as it shifts from the specifics of survival and turns its attention to the tenuous dynamic among three survivors. Unfortunately, the actors don’t quite summon enough urgency to convey their dilemma, and for the most part the movie just comes off like 90 minutes of watching people get into trouble camping. Maybe you’d better just leave it alone.

  • Finding Ophelia

    An audiovisual spectacle with weak performances and contrived storytelling that leave the …
  • Rediscover: The Human Condition

    A damning testament of a nation with a Napoleonic complex and a voice for those caught in …
  • Sweet Thing

    Overcomes its flaws to craft believable and touching portraits of young children and broke…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Check Also

The Sparks Brothers

Die-hard fans who’ve stuck with the Mael brothers through every incarnation and subsequent…