Alone At Night is a horror film as forgettable as its title.
Published on May 24, 2023
Rating 1 /5
Alone At Night is a horror film where I kept waiting for some subversion. After all, this film starts with a cliche premise, sets up a scenario amid the Covid-19 pandemic, teases a meta-commentary on stardom, and boasts a cast that includes Paris Hilton and Pamela Anderson. Surely, something clever must come about with all these ingredients. Sadly, this film becomes lazy as it whips all these elements into the blandest of modern horror.
The film centers on Vicky, an online adult star who delights a range of clients with their sexual desires. When the Covid-19 pandemic hits, Vicky decides to break some cabin fever by…going to a cabin…while working. Vicky quarantines in a remote cabin while still performing her sexual acts amid unreliable internet and power. She meets a few locals who are a mixture of weirdly off-kilter and highly untrustworthy. So the film sets up a few suspects who may or may not be the masked killer waiting for every power outage at the cabin.
Amid all this, the film keeps cutting back to a reality TV show of quarantining stars living in a house. These scenes are odd; they appear different from the rest of the film and have little to do with the narrative. It’s enough to make somebody question what purpose this trash TV has in this cliche horror film. The reason is not revealed until the very end of the picture when the camera pulls back to show the stars watching the movie and commenting on it. What a waste of a concept! Instead of using the reality-show concept as some juxtaposition of fame, here it’s used as a tacky punchline that falls so flat it’s embarrassing.
The bulk of the film is a mess of wasted opportunities. Characters will keep talking about the coronavirus, but it never becomes an issue for the narrative, acting like background noise that is rarely addressed beyond a visor here, a test there, and a quarantine banter there. Horror hallmarks are scattered with little creativity. This includes dark rooms, masked killers, unhelpful police, and creepy online stalkers. So many horror films have taken a handful of these horror tropes and managed to weave something compelling out of them. Here, they’re just kind of there without a hint of thrill.
How does a film like this waste a rare casting of Pamela Anderson as a cop? She’s hardly in the picture and is never given that many juicy lines to munch on. For playing up a local cop who doesn’t take kindly to strangers, she phones in a rather meek dose of camp that is way too understated. Even Paris Hilton’s sleepwalking role as a reality-show host feels like a major loss of having her do something more beyond what everybody knows this celebrity can do. This horror film is without ideas when presented with some ideal casting choices.
Alone At Night is a horror film as forgettable as its title. It’s as though the filmmakers decided to make an old-fashioned horror movie that wasn’t trying to be some heavy allegory but just a series of slasher moments and spooky killer-in-the-house vibes. To the film’s credit, it does come off rather old school, but not in a good way. It feels old in the sense of those budgeted horror pictures of the 1980s that you’d maybe watch once from the video store and then forget about forever.
Mark has been a professional film critic for over five years and a film lover all his life.