The voyeurism of the film camera has been a handy device in queasy-stomach thrillers from Peeping Tom to Halloween, bringing the audience into the position of the attacker as he steadily advanced on a victim (female and nubile, of course) and practically making them a part of the assault that followed. While some directors (like Powell in Peeping Tom) may have used this device as a Hitchcockian method of indicting the viewers for their sweaty-palmed need to watch, in the hands of John Carpenter and his followers it was something much more basic: the vicarious thrill. It's the resolute abandonment of any such thrill-seeking that makes Eric Nicholas' indie stalker experiment Alone with Her so brave. This is the rare film of its kind that dares to not give the pervs in the audience what they really want: a helpless, dehumanized female victim offered up for the slaughter.

This is doubly impressive, given how stacked the deck is against the woman being stalked in Alone with Her, as Nicholas has constructed his film so that every single shot is from the lens of a camera either carried or worn by the stalker, or planted in the woman's apartment. Amy (Ana Claudia Talancón) is never seen from anybody's perspective but that of Doug (Colin Hanks), who first spots her in a park while he's out gathering footage of women. Once his lens locks onto her, it never leaves, circling in closer and closer. It isn't long before Doug has broken into Amy's apartment and hidden small cameras everywhere, all of them feeding continuously back to his computer. And so we watch as he creeps incrementally into her life, striking up a conversation at the coffee shop she frequents about a film he just saw (knowing that she had just rented it the night before). To Amy's eye, Doug's just a harmlessly cute and geeky guy who she happens to have surprisingly a lot in common with, and Nicholas builds the story so painstakingly that there are times when the audience is almost able to believe the same.

Continue reading: Alone With Her Review