The Movie Waffler Screamfest LA 2023 Review - ALONE TOGETHER | The Movie Waffler

Screamfest LA 2023 Review - ALONE TOGETHER

Alone Together review
An abusive husband takes his wife to the remote cabin where he once watched his father commit suicide.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: William Kresch

Starring: DeAnna Wright, Matthew Kresch

One of the many societal side effects of the recent COVID pandemic was a huge increase in divorce rates. Stuck at home all day with their spouse, many people began to question whether they were really willing to spend the rest of their life with this person. Even the healthiest of couplings were tested, but for those in abusive relationships it must have felt like an inescapable living nightmare.

It may share its title with a Katie Holmes rom-com about finding love during lockdown, but director William Kresch's Alone Together is about a relationship violently dissolving in such circumstances.

Alone Together review

The film is set during an alternate COVID pandemic where society has broken down in even more extreme ways than we saw during the real event. With the city growing increasingly unsafe due to riots, Luke (Matt Kresch) insists that his wife Nassdja (Deanna Wright) accompany him to his family's deserted upstate cabin. Nassdja is worried that she won't be able to keep in touch with her father, who is suffering badly from the virus. She's also secretly communicating via text with a man with whom it seems she's been conducting an affair.

It's clear from the off that Luke exerts a controlling influence over Nassdja, manipulating her into feeling bad about her complaints regarding being dragged to a cabin in the middle of nowhere. This is no ordinary cabin however; when Luke was 11 he watched as his troubled Vietnam vet father blew his brains out before a makeshift Buddhist alter. Luke uses this story to gain sympathy from Nassdja, but any sympathy the viewer might have is eroded as we watch Luke use a piece of software that allows him to spy on Nassdja's cellphone. As she thumbs through her photo gallery, we get a montage of the decline of their relationship, beginning with cute pics of the couple enjoying each other's company, culminating in Nassdja pausing over close-ups of various scars and bruises she's sustained at her husband's hands.

Alone Together review

As if that wasn't enough for Nassdja to deal with, the cabin and the surrounding woods seem to be haunted by the spirit of Luke's old man. Nassdja sees visions of the spectre around the property, wrongly concluding that it's members of a local militia. Meanwhile, Luke's behaviour is growing increasingly unstable, as though his father's spirit is taking hold of him.

Alone Together works a lot better as a grounded thriller about a woman attempting to escape the shackles of domestic abuse than as the hokey Shining knockoff it ultimately descends into. As the awful Luke, Kresch is a lot scarier when he's waging psychological warfare with his wife than when he flips out and starts chasing her around with sharp objects. His performance as the possessed version of Luke is too over the top to take seriously.

Alone Together review

Similarly, Wright is very good as a woman living in quiet terror, but a late attempt to turn her into a "badass" feels like it belongs in a less serious film.

Alone Together suffers from plot inconsistencies, especially regarding how and when the two characters are able to access various forms of communications technology. The ghost story element is similarly muddled and merely proves a distraction from the more tangible domestic abuse drama. A few more passes at the script might have consolidated Alone Together into a more convincing supernatural thriller, but in its current form it's a frustrating misfire.

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