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John Hyams’ serial killer thriller lean, mean

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Illustration for article titled iAlone /iis a lean, mean thrill machine from the director ofi Universal Soldier: Day Of Reckoning /i

Photo: Magnet Releasing

Note: The writer of this review watched Alone from home on a digital screener. Before making the decision to see it—or any other film—in a movie theater, please consider the health risks involved. Here’s an interview on the matter with scientific experts.


That John Hyams’ lean thriller Alone is largely destined for home viewing is unfortunate. Though he has spent most the last few years working in TV, the director of the awesomely psychotronic Universal Soldier sequels Universal Soldier: Regeneration and Universal Soldier: Day Of Reckoning has a gift for widescreen composition and sound design that begs for the theatrical experience, offering a healthy antidote to the sort of Hollywood megaspectacle that until recently was a guaranteed way to put butts into multiplex seats. If Regeneration and Day Of Reckoning were improbable mutant artworks of cult-movie iconography and bone-crunching combat, his new film is an exercise of unpretentious formal chops, with a first act that presents a catalog of minimalist atmospherics and bad omens: creepy engine noises, eerie Pacific Northwest roads, and a Jeep Grand Cherokee that follows its protagonist, Jessica (Jules Willcox), in the manner of the demonic tanker truck from Duel.

Jessica is introduced to us as she is about to leave Portland in the aftermath of a vague tragic backstory, with a U-Haul trailer hitched to her old Volvo station wagon. For most of the running time, she and the Cherokee’s nameless driver (Marc Menchaca) are the only two characters. His motives are as plain as the vintage-serial-killer glasses and mustache on his face. Even the sling around his arm comes straight from the Ted Bundy playbook. It’s pure cliché, but the sparseness of the storytelling helps elevate the film above its über-generic logline and bland title. (According to IMDB, it’s one of at least four Alones completed in 2020; three are backwoods thrillers, and at least one shares the premise of traumatized heroine, a kidnapping, and an escape from a cabin with this movie.)

Hyams has previously displayed a fondness for mysterious characters and unfamiliar, deserted backdrops, and he understands that sometimes the most effective way to use the frame is to fill as little of it as possible and let the resultant negative space work its magic. The man in the Grand Cherokee keeps popping up in all the wrong places, radiating big doses of stranger danger. Following the inevitable abduction, he locks Jessica into the cellar of an isolated cabin. The subject matter is exploitation-grade, but the possibility that Alone might sink into sadistic, tooth-gnashing torture porn is quickly dispelled. Jessica escapes barefoot into the woods, and the movie morphs into a survival thriller, complete with a gnarly injury and a muddy mano a mano showdown that befits Hyams’ action background.

Compared to the Universal Soldier films, which cast assorted direct-to-video action stars into horror-influenced, art-film-quoting meditations on memory and identity, Alone is anything but thematically ambitious. It follows the trends of contemporary thrillers and horror movies, which have largely replaced the queasy, unplaceable psychic dimensions of their forebears with therapy narratives that suggest that those who can no longer afford a few hours a week on a couch should consider being kidnapped, haunted, or menaced by a shark. But given that most genre movies are copycats, style can be an effective substitute for substance. The unease created here is disquietingly efficient in its best moments, getting plenty of mileage out of classically suspenseful backdrops: boxy cars driving along winding roads, a creaky cabin, and a woman fleeing a killer in the woods.

The necessity of shooting handheld in a rugged forest (at least on a low-budget project like this) occasionally hampers the climactic stretch of Alone; simply put, it can’t match the controlled compositions of the movie’s terrifically executed first half-hour. Nonetheless, there’s something deeply appealing about an already stripped-down cat-and-mouse scenario that becomes dirtier and more elemental as it goes along, tracing a devolutionary arc from the rules of the road to primeval combat. As in so many thrillers, there’s an implication of primitive threats lurking under the mundane, most memorably exemplified by a tense sequence in which Jessica’s abductor carefully slices a piece of cheese with a hunting knife—an image that could just as well be a metaphor for the skillful direction of this back-to-basics project.

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‘Trick r Treat’ Director Michael Dougherty Set to Helm Clive Barker’s ‘Nightbreed’ Series

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The long-gestating series adaptation of Clive Barker’s horror fantasy film Nightbreed has landed Trick r Treat’s Michael Dougherty as director. Barker revealed that the filmmaker had joined the project in an interview with ComingSoon.net, and Dougherty confirmed his involvement in an email.

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Image via 20th Century Fox

Dougherty, who also directed the Christmas horror comedy Krampus and the big-budget sequel Godzilla: King of the Monsters, is currently working on the HBO series adaptation of Barker’s classic Hellraiser franchise as a writer and producer. Hiring him to helm a Nightbreed series seems like a smart choice, especially considering his handling of the dark fantasy elements of Krampus. Barker’s 1990 film, which he adapted from his own novel Cabal, follows a man on the run from both the police and his crazed doctor who takes refuge in a secret city of monsters, where he learns that the creatures of folklore were actually peaceful beings nearly exterminated by fearful humans. He ultimately becomes an undead creature himself and rallies the Nightbreed to fight back against the humans. It’s a whole ass thing (kind of like Star Wars for adult horror fans), and to be quite honest it’ll probably make a solid TV show. According to his ComingSoon interview, Barker is currently hard at work developing the bible of the show’s universe, so it’ll still be some time before we start hearing about casting or anything like that.

Barker has a number of projects on the horizon right now, including the highly-anticipated Candyman reboot (which was recently pushed to 2021 due to the pandemic) and the upcoming anthology film Books of Blood, which debuts on Hulu October 7. Click here to check out the latest Books of Blood trailer.

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The Young and the Restless Spoilers: What Is Theo’s Endgame? – Lola’s Feelings For Kyle Persist, Summer Threatened

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The Young and the Restless spoilers document that Theo Vanderway (Tyler Johnson) seems to believe Lola Rosales (Sasha Calle) is still in love with Kyle Abbott (Michael Mealor). She didn’t want to hear it. But knowing Theo, he won’t back off.

It’s reasonable to wonder, as Summer Newman (Hunter King) is doing, what Theo’s endgame is? He could be hoping that Lola, who he seems to actually care about, returns to him in time.

Young And The Restless Spoilers – Lola Rosales Gains Freedom

Well, the Kyle and Lola divorce is final. Lola and Kyle commiserated about that plot point at Society, with Theo being aware of the meeting and directing Summer so she could observe the exchange.

It appears as though Theo is right about Lola’s lingering feelings for Kyle. Mealor’s character was her first true love and her first husband. As for Theo’s implication that Kyle still cared, that’s debatable.

Whether Theo actually thinks that Kyle isn’t over Lola is highly questionable because Johnson’s character is the person who, like Summer, regularly critiqued Kola for months. The brief couple that was Theo and Summer didn’t believe that Kyle and Lola belonged together, with their instincts, or desires, proving to be right.

Young And The Restless Spoilers – Kyle Abbott Must Prove Himself

Viewers can see that Kyle actually did love Summer all along. The tension he exhibited toward Theo’s many baits was steeped in the internal feelings he had about Lola.

Kyle did fall in love with Lola. But the depth of his attachment never seems to have been what it once was and now is again for Summer. King’s character is the perceived, or actual, love of Kyle’s life.

A small space for speculation, regarding Skyle’s sustainability, is being left due to the sudden end of Kola. It’s okay to remain somewhat skeptical about Kyle’s evolving outlook on his romantic life until he proves his commitment to Summer over time.

Young And The Restless Spoilers – Theo Vanderway Plays Outsider’s Game

Theo is Dina Mergeron’s (Marla Adams) grandson. So, he’ll be forever linked to Genoa City, Wisconsin, no matter what the future brings. But he’s still an outsider, according to his own perception and that of others.

First impressions haven’t been good. But Theo’s uncle, Jack Abbott (Peter Bergman), sees good in him. As long as there are enough other open-hearted people in GC, Theo can improve his reputation over time. He needs to earn that status, however.

If Theo is simply lashing out at Lola, who dumped him recently, then he’s wrong. But if he really wants the best for her, then she’ll recognize that and they’ll reestablish their friendship. As far as another edition of Theo and Lola, time will tell.

CDL is a leading source for everything linked to The Young and the Restless. Check back regularly for Y&R spoilers and news!

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‘OutDaughtered’: Danielle Busby Shares Budget Decor Ideas

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OutDaughtered‘s Danielle Busby is fixing up her home for falling. And she’s giving fans her best tips and hacks for creating a beautiful space on a budget.

OutDaughtered: Danielle Busby’s Home Remodel Looks Amazing

We’ve seen Danielle Busby move homes, but this time the OutDaughtered family did an amazing renovation. The new look of the house has TLC viewers loving their design savvy. And now, fans of the show want to know more about her decorations.

OutDaughtered star Danielle was more than happy to tell fans where she got most of her things. She said that she loves going to the dollar items at Target. In fact, she found a lot of her cute pumpkins there for around three bucks.

She also mentioned going to At Home, Marshalls, and said that she already had some of her things from last season. She got some cute fall-inspired color pillows and throws for her couch and to put in a cute basket. But she said that she was able to keep everything very low priced by shopping around.

Danielle Can’t Keep Her Plant Alive

Danielle Busby from OutDaughtered said she bought the planters with live plants. But sadly, the porch area gets a lot of afternoon sun, and it didn’t survive. So, she went to Hobby Lobby and got some of the fifty percent off faux flowers.

Danielle said that they were doing some marketing stuff once. And the producers wanted a pop of color, and that’s how they did it. So she took the OutDaughtered crew’s idea and did it for herself.

She said that she didn’t finish her front porch yet. In fact, Danielle’s busy fixing up another planter. She thought the faux plants she got would be enough for both, but Danielle said she’s going to need more to finish her display.

OutDaughtered: Danielle Busby

OutDaughtered: Fans Await a New Season

Not long ago, Danielle Busby’s husband, Adam Busby, told fans they had done a lot of taping. But he said he didn’t have any idea when the show would come back on TLC. He said that he doesn’t have any dates and he’ll let everyone know as soon as he can.

There has been a lot going on for the OutDaughtered cast. They not only dealt with the pandemic, but they were doing a remodel during this time. And the whole family kept getting out of the house and going to do fun activities during the remodeling.

They went on RV trips, went to the beach, and did a lot of fun things. And fans want to live through them by watching their adventures on OutDaughtered.

Keep up with OutDaughtered on Soap Dirt.

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