(Seuls) Alone
Based on a Belgian comic book Alone is an interesting though ultimately flawed take on the post-death experience. Waking up one day to find she is totally alone Leila (Sofia Lesaffre) begins to wander around her hometown and meets up with others who are in a similar situation. The gang are a stereotypical mix of clever, rich, tomboy, juvenile and wrong side of the tracks, but not that bad really. They set off to find what is going on. They are taunted by a droid, hunted by a knifeman and there is hot cloud, or to them, fog closing in.

It’s a sluggish film with the revelations coming out slowly but surely as we put the pieces together until the end when, well who knows. The graphic novel no doubt covers this point but not sure how many will be tempted to go to this. The film looks fine with director David Moreau conjuring up cold clean dead city-scapes. The soundtrack is worth seeking out. 2/5

When war veteran Steve (Jason Alan Smith) discovers a stabbed dead woman – Diane (Carlee Avers who sings in the intro to the film) in his backyard, his first instinct is to take a photo of her. Not normal behaviour but then there’s not a lot normal in this thriller come ghost story.

The police arrive and he’s instantly the prime suspect. This in turn stirs up the neighbours who already have a beef with him, and actually break into his yard. He offers them ‘one punch’ each, which they try and are roundly beaten. However, it’s a small town so gossip starts to circulate, and life continues to be uncomfortable to the extent that he installs CCTV. At the same time Steve is starting to obsess over the photo, and hallucinate or dream about Diane.
The cops are staking him out but with nothing to go on it seems forlorn though they take him in for questioning. He’s also hassled by Diane’s husband, not knowing why. Add to this is that Steve drinks, a lot, but they main problem is his amnesia and that he’s seeing an apparition.

It’s midway that the film starts to reveal what has gone on before through flashbacks with Diane, as fame hungry singer, and Steve, who is slowly starting to put things together, and sympathy’s start to shift. Writer/Director Michael Mongillo has crafted a dark puzzle of film that has given Alan Smith plenty to work with and rewards with a beguiling, disconcerting performance. The washed-out colours give it grimy look as befits this small-town Americana. 3/5

Ruin Me
Slasher Sleepout: The Ultimate Horror Experience is the ideal place ideal Halloween experience, for horror fans. Alexandra (Marcienne Dwyer) has reluctantly accompanied her boyfriend Nathan (Matt Dellapina) on this trip, and they are joined by a Goth couple of seasoned horror experiencers. Plus, the standard loner and a geeky guy. At a disused petrol station, they are met by the organisers who tell them that the theme is escaped mental patients in the woods. They will have a series of tests that will eventually lead them to the end, and with luck as winners.

Each member of the party has been given a bag with an object that will come in useful at some point during the weekend. It’s a laugh for most, a chance to get away from it all. But for the goth pair this is serious competition and noses start getting out of joint when Alex starts to work out the clues, quickly.

There’s a nice scene around the campfire where we learn Alex has never seen a horror film, and is gently ribbed. Bed time and it’s now that things start to play to type with noises in the wood and suchlike though the seeds for more original directions are sown.

There’s an overriding lingering thought that things aren’t quite what they are supposed to be. With tricks being played: Whose dead? Who isn’t? People disappear, bodies pile up, familiar faces appear. The latter an intense and discomforting sequence when a doped Alexandra wakes up on a beach, chained to her ex, that’s at odds with much of the rest of the film.

Director Preston De Francis with co-writer Trysta A .Bissett have put together a snappy film that has a familiar tread but is carefully layered with characters’ secrets used to manipulate them, and the audience. There’s a freshness in the presentation and enthusiasm in the cast’s performances that gives Ruin Me a real spring. 4/5