Sep 28, 2020

The best thriller last year. It's another heroine pursued by a wacked-out male. Prime.


Grade: B+

Director: John Hyams (All Square)

Screenplay: Mattias Olsson (Iris)

Cast: Jules Willcox (Cover Me0), Anthony Heald (The Silence of the Lambs)

Runtime: 1 hr 38 min

By: John DeSando

Starting my first wide release of the summer in a theater with Russell Crowe’s bad boy menacing a single female in her car, I thought I had my mindless thrill about road rage. No, I found one even more thrilling and more mindful: Alone.

This action thriller has all the tropes a genre buff could hope for, only more. Not only is Jessica (Jules Willcox) pursued by car by at first a nice but strange Man (Mark Menchaca), who in not nice at all it turns out. He ends up pursuing Jess by car and then foot in a forest of the Pacific Northwest in an unexpected conclusion with a twist new to the genre.

In both films, the heroines are smart, tough, but still believably endangered by bigger and ruthless males. In both cases the smart phone promises to make the heroines smarter than the men. Alone should satisfy feminists who like their women to be survivors, but not easily so.

In both films the women are single, with Jess having lost her husband to suicide, a point the villain plays on to Hannibal Lecter effect.

That reminds me: A victim along the way is played by Anthony Heald, who played the hospital head in The Silence of the Lambs (as I write about psychos like Hannibal).

Alone is not so much bloody or jump-scarish as it is about survival in a jungle of wackos like the Man. Although the photography is sublime (nothing photographs as lush and dense as the Northwest), the real action is seeing a gender we used to think vulnerable to men now going nose to nose and doing males better by thinking better.

Now “muscular” can be applied to a thriller with an intelligent, attractive woman heading the film. It’s still best not to give in to road rage. It will come back at you.

John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at