'Alone' Review: '#Alive' remake starring Tyler Posey is more zombie action than a reflection of Covid-19 world
The way '#Alive' drew comparisons between life before the outbreak was also a subtle, indie dream shown with careful precision, significantly missing from its Hollywood remake
Spoilers for 'Alone'
Not that long ago, Netflix's ever-expanding slate of international thrillers collected an asset in the form of Matt Naylor's South Korean zombie horror '#Alive'. A glaring portrayal of life in quarantine that we have now grown accustomed to, the film encapsulated the initial horror and panic as isolation crept into our lives and hope seemed to flicker. A mysterious virus takes over the planet and starts turning people into cannibalistic zombies bleeding from the eyes.
Amid that, the protagonist goes from being hopeless to suicidal, to finding something worth living for — a story that Americans can now also see in its Hollywood remake 'Alone' starring Tyler Posey. With an incredible cast and gripping plot, 'Alone' could be the next big hit in the niche genre. Unfortunately, it lacks the one thing that made '#Alive' stand apart — the realistic parallels drawn between the fictional zombie outbreak and our current Covid-19 world.
The story of 'Alone' follows the exact same arc that '#Alive' did. Aidan (Posey) wakes up one morning to find screaming uproar outside his apartment. There's been a viral outbreak turning people into cannibalistic monsters and news telecasts show the same — people running from growling herds of zombies. A neighbor of Aidan enters the apartment and it's soon revealed the man has been infected. Aidan fights off the now-turning zombie and barricades himself as his life in isolated quarantine begins. With no news of his parents and resources running out, Aidan starts losing hope. He tries maintaining a vlog so his family — wherever they are — can keep tabs on him but that fails too when all power and modes of communication shut down.
Spiraling into a breakdown, Aidan makes a failed suicide attempt right before he spots another life in the opposite apartment building. Thus begins Aidan and the still-human Eva's (Summer Spiro) friendship as they begin communicating with signs and eventually make way to each other. Their third musketeer in the team of survivors is Edward (Donald Sutherland) and together the three try to evade the impending doom enveloping them from all sides.
As far as acting goes, Posey is a stellar choice for drama. His leading role as the teenage alpha werewolf in MTV's 'Teen Wolf' and several slasher horrors in the years after the show wrapped bear testimony to that. Spiro is the signature stereotype of the damsel-turned-survivor and Sutherland brings his A-game. It is however the scrip that takes out a lot of the relatable life in quarantine traits that would have otherwise made the film a compelling watch, much like the South Korean version.
Aidan's life in quarantine is barely explored. The Hollywood remake focuses more on his dynamics with Eva and the zombie-killing action. That these zombies still have their last memories as humans leads to some remorse in killing them — a topic not quite explored in the genre. But apart from that, it's more slashing and chopping that the panicked hoarding that made '#Alive' so refreshingly realistic.
The way '#Alive' drew comparisons between life before the outbreak was also a subtle, indie dream shown with careful precision. This bit is replaced by smoking up and casual sex in 'Alone', making it significantly more Hollywood and ironically cut out for a Netflix audience, even though it was '#Alive' that had premiered on the streaming platform. 'Alone' shines in moments as Sutherland's Edward gets the limelight. In that, Aidan and Eva aren't your regular young adult stereotypes, but since the script chooses to flesh out Aidan's trauma, Eva's significance as anything but a prop in his arc is reduced. In short, 'Alone' is captivating only if you haven't watched the South Korean version already. If you have it's hard to not criticize the Hollywood remake for its wasted potential.
'Alone' premiered virtually on digital and demand on October 16, 2020.