Deep inside I’m one of those guys that really don’t want that much from a movie. When all comes around I prefer a good script and maybe a cute guy to look at, but that’s about it. I think we all can agree that Dennis Quaid was a piece of candy as a young man, and if you don’t like the movie itself, he will deliver in pure cuteness. Anyway, that has nothing to do with this TV-movie pretending to be a horror film, because even if Are You Alone In The House? echoes of every thriller from the time it’s actually more a stalking-drama with a little mystery-twist to it. Not bad either, so don’t be afraid.
Kathleen Beller is Gail, a normal schoolgirl who one day starts to get threatening notes, mysterious phone calls and and it all ends with her being raped - and that’s where we begin the story. What follows is an extended flashback telling us what lead up to this… and at the end, also who’s the perpetrator. But in this cold world, still a cold one - it should be noted - it’s up to Gail herself to find and catch the guilty party, because as usual in this sick, sick world, it’s the victim of stalking, especially if it’s a woman, who must blame herself for letting this happening to her!
Yes, Are You Alone In The House? is both a thriller wrapped in a mystery and a big angry letter to those standing on the side of the criminal. It never goes as far as being a revenge film, but if it had been 30 minutes longer we might have seen something like that. Like yesterday’s The Possessed this is a made for TV movie, which means nothing controversial - and this is a movie dealing with rude, nasty written threats and rape! Surprisingly enough, and it’s nice to see a film in this genre that doesn’t feel exploitive, the script is so good and keeps the viewer on the edge of the sofa (or just very comfortable deep down among pillows and snacks) it really doesn’t matter.
This is a quality production and it knows it. I’ve seen some critical comments regarding Kathleen Beller’s performance but I can’t understand that at all. She’s not the typical all-american girl, at least in her looks, which is fantastic. I’m so tired of blondes in peril. She gives some edge to a complex part. Around her is an army of red herrings: is it the nice boyfriend of hers? Or the hunky Dennis Quaid? Or maybe her father who acts weirder and weirder and hides the facts he has no job anymore? Hmm, or does her weird teacher with the strange accent have something to do with the threats?
Maybe the big revelations isn’t that big anyway, but I felt quite surprised and liked how the writer played with our expectations and some cleverly written dialogue. I fully understand you out there who expected something else - I did also - but if you can toss away those expectations and instead go for that “I would love to see a stalker-themed TV-thriller without any kind of nudity and violence”-vibe, you WILL like this movie a lot.
It’s out together on a nice double feature from Shout Factory called TV Terrors, together with the fun The Initiation of Sarah. Also worth watching, by the way.