DVD Review: You Are Not Alone (2013)

You Are Not Alone DVD CoverDistributor: 101 Films

BBFC Classification: 18

Director: Mark Ezra

Starring: Nathan Nolan, Evie Bicker, Simon Dutton, Louise Houghton, Seth Sinclair

It is time again to take a look at another low-budget found footage horror film, this time set in Glastonbury, Somerset as American couple Matt (Nathan Nolan) and Ginny (Evie Bicker) swap their L.A. home for the chance to stay in a British mansion house for six months. Matt is a writer and Ginny a musician so they relish the chance for a more relaxed and quiet way of life as they embark on their latest projects but – and this may come as a bit of a surprise – it isn’t long before strange things start to happen (like a giant poo appearing on the bathroom floor) and Matt and Ginny realise they aren’t the only occupants in their new home.

What is quite nice about You Are Not Alone is that it doesn’t spend too long setting up the characters, why they are where they are and that things aren’t quite right; the film opens in Glastonbury and within the first couple of minutes Matt has caught a disgruntled local seemingly beating his wife on camera and he and Ginny have to run for it. From then on we see the couple arrive at their new home and look around – as you would do in a new house – and it isn’t long before the first unsettling incident happens. Regardless of the incident, we already like Matt and Ginny as they come across as very likeable so spending time with them isn’t such a chore, even when they are not doing much. And there are some long scenes where not a lot happens but that is part of the framework of found footage so it is just as well they are not too annoying.

However, what lets You Are Not Alone down is the same thing that lets every found footage film down – why are the characters filming everything? And by everything, I do mean everything; Matt even sets up the video camera to film himself typing away on his laptop – by anyone’s standards that is a pretty thorough video journal. As if to compensate for the contrivance director Mark Ezra employs the use of sound to great effect, creating creepily quiet atmospheres and then smashing the silence with overly loud bangs and crashes, and in one very loud scene music, and Ezra’s directorial experience does lend the film a bit of weight as you know this isn’t the debut feature of a former music video director or a screenwriter who fancied a go at helming a movie. As such it feels like a properly put together film, albeit one that is made to look like it was patched together, which is quite a skill in itself.

But steady direction, authentic setting and sympathetic characters aren’t everything (although they do help) and ultimately, after a promising start, You Are Not Alone doesn’t do enough to try and push the genre forward or even make it stand out amongst other films with a similar theme. Fans of found footage will no doubt enjoy it because it does all of the things that every other found footage film does in terms of jump scares, things happening in the background and the use of technology to enhance what you’re seeing, but when you look at superior found footage movies like [REC] or The Last Exorcism – granted, they have bigger budgets but still, it is what you do with the material that counts – which are a few years old now, You Are Not Alone just feels too pedestrian and ordinary.

You Are Not Alone

Special Features: None.

UK Release Date: 21st July 2014

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