Movie Review: There are scarier things than being “Alone With You”

Get past the dull first act…and somewhat dull second. See beyond the attempts at arty-fartiness — extreme close-ups and blurred montages of images — and the cheap shocks and “Alone With You” kind of/sort of works.

It winds up in ever-heightening paranoia and finishes with a bloody flourish.

This is an “unstuck in time” at-least-in-her-mind tale of a model/makeup artist (Emily Bennett, who also co-wrote and co-directed this) who becomes trapped in her Brooklyn flat, panicking as she awaits the return of her overdue photographer/lover.

Charlene, aka “Charlie,” experiences joyous impatience, then worry, jealousy and fear of betrayal before her paranoia has her hearing this, “seeing” that and flashing back to clues from the relationship she’s so desperately into.

Simone (Emma Myles) was an on out-of-town shoot, and is due back. Right now. Charlene remembers when she was Simone’s favorite subject, practically her only subject. They’d pose-and-snap away on a deserted, out-of-season beach, with the viewer seeing what Simone saw through the viewfinder — LOVE.

Now? Well, getting calls from her hard-partying pal Thea (Dora Madison) in the club doesn’t help. Thea plants seeds of doubt, a lot of “I warned you” and “I’ve BEEN warning you” suggestions, because Charlie is “waiting” on Simone yet again.

“You wait on her like it’s your f—ing JOB!”

And even though she’s spilled wine in the tub and on the carpet, let’s assume Charlie got a few belts back over the course of the evening. Talking with her shrill, disapproving mother (horror mainstay Barbara Crampton) would drive anybody to drink.

But Facetime with Mumsy throws Charlie a curve she didn’t see coming. “Wait, what TIME is it there?”

Mom’s got a sunny widow behind her, Charlie’s in the dark–in the same time zone.

Then she starts hearing the thumps and bumps, the weeping through the heating vents in between apartments. Is there somebody IN here with her?

And those manikins Simone draped sheets over downstairs aren’t doing much for Charlie’s frazzled state either.

Bennett, a bit player on TV and in films, wrote herself a fine “cracking up” showcase, and she doesn’t disappoint — much.

The obscurant script features far too many “posing” sequences, far more “establish the setting and the set-up” scenes than are necessary. And runway-ready or not, Bennett doesn’t do enough to animate those static early acts.

But she comes to pieces with the best of them. Crampton would be proud.

The payoff doesn’t totally makeup for the longueurs that introduce “Alone With You.” But there’s promise enough and the picture’s short enough that it’s not a total waste of time, or waste of a lot of time.

Rating: unrated, violence, profanity

Cast: Emily Bennett, Barbara Crampton, Dora Madison, Emma Myles

Credits: Scripted and directed by Emily Bennett and Justin Brooks. A Dark Star release.

Running time: 1:22

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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