FANTASTIC FEST: Alone With You (2021)

Co-writers and co-directors Emily Bennett and Justin Brooks have put together a claustrophobic story that stays nearly all in one apartment as Charlie (Bennett) attempts to get her two-story Brooklyn apartment ready for the return of her erstwhile lover Simone (Emma Myles). Something has happened between the two of them, but from the positivity on the phone, Charlie is beaming.

That’s when everything starts going wrong.

Shadows randomly appear. Voices are heard through the vents. The WiFi makes ordinary Facetime sessions demonic. Her mother (Barbara Crampton in a surprising and wonderful cameo) alternately throws vague praise her way or decides to condemn Simone as a witch. Random calls pepper the film, as a friend (Dora Madison) at a club begs her to finally leave the house. But when she finally goes outside, she can’t. Her home is wrapped up tight — quite literally — and no calls to the landlord or 911 can change things.

While this film takes advantage of COVID-19 time filmmaking — Crampton and Myles appear on screens — it also allows Bennett the opportunity to shine as a performer, pushing the narrative forward all under her own power. As the walls start to close in, we see more of what may have happened between Charlie and Simone, there are glimpses of Charlie being shut out of artistic opportunities. There are photos on the walls that seem either embarrassing or emboldening of Charlie on the walls. And there’s a man’s name showing up on Simone’s smartphone.

So is Simone coming back home? Is there even a home? Is Charlie going mad or is she already there?

Alone With You is playing Fantastic Fest along with Knocking, which tells a similar story of a trapped woman dealing with being haunted inside a small apartment. Both have their own way of telling the same story and it was really interesting to see where both films took their characters. And they end in such different ways…

Alone With You has been acquired by Dark Star Pictures and is playing Fantastic Fest. When we have streaming information, we’ll edit this post.

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