One in twelve women will be stalked in their lifetime. It’s a frightening statistic that is made all the more horrific when one takes in to account the virtual arsenal of tools stalkers have at their disposal; from cheap, readily available surveillance gear to something as seemingly innocuous as a laptop computer, the new millennium has given birth to a dangerous breed of tech-savvy predators. They can find out everything they need to know about a person just by rifling through their garbage, hack into your Wi-Fi with nothing more than a coffee can and some bits bought at the local Radio Shack, and watch your every move from miles away with the aid of video cameras no bigger than a fly on the wall. Cell phone cloners, listening devices, locksmithing tools, and all manner of spy gear are no further than a mouse click away, and all you need is the cash to buy them (and very little cash at that).
In the disturbing and provocative new thriller, “Alone with Her”, we are thrown headlong into this world, viewing the action through the eyes of Doug (Hanks), and his collection of hidden cameras. The film opens with Doug patrolling the streets, a camcorder stuffed into a gym bag, filming a slew of unsuspecting women until his lens settles upon Amy (Talancón). It is then that Doug gets down to business, timing Amy’s comings and goings, rummaging through her belongings, and installing miniature cameras and microphones all throughout here apartment. He finds out she’s recently had a bad breakup, learns about her favorite bands, and discovers her abilities as an artist. Doug uses the information he gathers to worm his way into Amy’s life at a time in which she really needs a friend, but he wants to be more – so much more.
Writer/Director, Eric Nicholas, has crafted a haunting and disturbing piece of cinema that blends the low-budget, cinema verite’ stylings of The Blair Witch Project with the voyeuristic tendencies of “sex, lies, and videotape”, and adds a truly involving storyline, deeply realized characters, and a pair of great performances from Hanks and Talancón. While I felt truly invested in Amy’s plight, I also felt a great deal of sadness for the emotionally isolated Doug, as the talented Hanks is just such a likeable actor that, even though he’s playing a monster, you almost want things to go right for him somehow. That is, of course, if he were up against a less likeable actress. Mexican starlet, Talancón, is so natural, beautiful, and likeable as Amy that it is impossible not to root for her, especially as she embraces this new found “friend”, turning to him for comfort when it is he who has sent her life into a downward spiral.
In a time where technology seems to be making us more insular and detached from one another, there are those who know how to use it to bring them closer to someone than anyone could imagine. They’re out there, watching, listening, learning, and preparing to make their move. And it’s as heartbreaking as it is terrifying.