A Gripping Character Driven Indie Zombie Flick
Despite its cliched premise of the zombie apocalypse, I Am Alone is surprisingly creative in its execution, managing to merge two concurrent story lines to tell a suitably different perspective on a zombie outbreak. It cleverly disguises its indie status and presumably restrictive budget with a decent character driven plot and a powerful performance from lead actor Jacob Fitts (Gareth David-Lloyd) that manages to encapsulate the found footage approach to film making perfectly.
The story begins with the cast of a survivalist show shooting in the beautiful Colorado Rockies. Jacob Fitts, the charismatic face of the show, begins shooting deep in the heart of the wilderness whilst his crew, lead by Mason (Gunner Wright), set off for the nearby town to gain more footage from residents. Unbeknownst to Jacob, an unknown virus ravages the globe and turns most of the population into flesh eating, shuffling zombies. Its here that the story takes on a parallel narrative, following Jacob in his isolated, beautiful locale whilst juxtaposing Mason’s frantic escape from hordes of the undead. Its certainly a creative way to tell the story and for the most part, it works really well. Anchoring these two stories together is a third setting taking place in a CDC base where Mason is interviewed by a mysterious doctor in the near future. Mostly shot through handheld cameras and CCTV footage, I Am Alone nails the found footage approach, managing to tell a relatively straight forward character driven story with enough originality to avoid it becoming stale.
Its not until the story really gets going that the creativity and flair is shown to its full extent. Watching Jacob’s descent into maddening sickness is incredibly realistic and worthy of a watch for this alone. Its certainly gripping stuff and effective too; close up shots with handheld cameras and numerous conflicted scenes showing Jacob’s delirium and confusion are the biggest highlights in this film. Some of the supporting cast are a little wooden in their delivery though but it doesn’t really detract from the story as these occur in Mason’s frantically shot scenes. The scenes inside the CDC base are mostly shot through static camera angles and the “fly on the wall” approach to seeing some of the more dramatic action taking place here is a little isolating. I can’t help but feel that a close up shot of the actors’ faces whilst delivering these lines or a few extreme close up shots to empathise Mason’s frustration (a clenched fist, pulling at the restraints, clenched teeth etc.) at being captured would elevate these just that little bit more and really bring you into the meat of the stress being displayed by the excellent acting. In doing so, these could arguably have been performed to the same standard as some of Jacob’s isolated, panic-stricken scenes. Having said that, this indie horror manages to pack one heck of a punch with its approach to the story and acting that its easy to overlook some of the more nitpicking technical elements to shooting like this, especially since most of the film is shot in a similar fashion.
Going into I Am Alone expecting the next 28 Days Later or Walking Dead finale is sure to leave some people disappointed. Where I Am Alone shines is in its original approach to the apocalypse, focusing its attention on lead actor Jacob and his deterioration into madness instead of blood, gore and thousands of zombies. Meshing well with the found footage approach to the story, plot wise I Am Alone is very well put together. It boasts some solid acting all round from the main cast, helping to give this horror flick the edge over some of the other Indie titles out there. Technically, there are a few areas of improvement but this entertaining horror flick is well worth a watch, especially given its original found footage approach to an over saturated genre.