Searching For a Compelling Story at the End of the World – I Think We’re Alone Now (Film Review)

Rating:

Two individuals, isolated, the world at their fingertips, courtesy of a deadly pathogen. It’s a tried and true storyline, seen, with slight changes, in recent films such as I Am Legend and Z for Zachariah. So what does Reed Morano’s Peter Dinklage vehicle, I Think We’re Alone Now, do differently? Well, not a whole lot in terms of its narrative, despite the quality of its technical elements.

Dinklage stars as Del, a survivor whose day is taken up burying the victims of the deadly disease that has left the human race in a state of near extinction. However, to his obvious surprise, one day, he discovers an injured woman, Grace (Elle Fanning). Taking her in, they begin to bond over Del’s day-to-day itinerary, questioning his own isolation and the toll it has taken on him.

So, away from the love triangle melodrama of Z for Zachariah and the CGI-heavy action of I Am Legend, I Think We’re Alone Now is a chamber piece, an intimate affair that focuses on two characters, learning about each other’s intricacies and idiosyncrasies amidst a serious situation. There’s a frivolous quality to their exchanges, helped along by Adam Taylor’s playful score, that skips over the dour tones of most post-apocalyptic projects. However, there’s not a whole lot fresh with the context of their conversations, resulting in a lack of investment in the action and narrative.

It’s pretty movie, courtesy of Morano’s own photography. There’s a sunset palette to the film’s aesthetic that contributes to its optimistic, futuristic tone and the steady camera wastes no time in focusing us towards Del and Grace’s predicament. Furthermore, Dinklage and Fanning do serviceable work in selling their personal struggles within this larger-than-life situation.

It’s just a shame that the story holds back for as long as it does: the third act rush ruins the slower pace of the film, delivering a secondary plotline that feels unearned and impulsive. Meandering on Del and Grace exploring a library or a grocery store on a couple of occasions, I Think We’re Alone Now fails to give these moments any real emotional impact: the simple humanity of it has to be enough. But as it’s plot picks up, its direction begins to falter and as a result, it feels a little anticlimactic.

There’s the clear influence of George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead in this: from the semi-serious tone to the enclosed locations and focus on character reaction over development, I Think We’re Alone Now is a love letter to that kind of stripped down filmmaking. However, while Romero maintained that style throughout his masterworks, Morano fails to decide between a fundamental, humanistic storytelling process and the expositional, revelatory conclusion that threatens to derail the deliberate yet sometimes ineffective tranquillity of the film. It’s certainly an attractive film. But that doesn’t make up for how the film struggles to carve out its own spot in the spectrum of interesting post-apocalyptic experiences.

Dir: Reed Morano

Prd: Fred Berger, Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, Fernando Loureiro, Roberto Vasconcellos, Peter Dinklage, Mike Makowsky

Scr: Mike Makowsky

Starring: Peter Dinklage, Elle Fanning

DOP: Reed Morano

Editor: Madeleine Gavin

Country: US

Year: 2018

Runtime93 minutes