Chemistry is everything in writer/director Charles Ehrlinger's Alone Wolf, a low-sizzle thriller starring real-life husband-and-wife Richard de Klerk and Cara Gee in a Gravitas Ventures dramatic thriller that recently arrived on VOD/IVOD.
Ehrlinger's directorial debut is an engaging one, though the film's truly undeniable strength is the tense yet reliably intimate chemistry that flows back-and-forth between Gee and de Klerk. Alone Wolf sets itself inside the world of de Lerk's Jonathan, a seemingly secluded weirdo who's been holed up in his plastic wrapped suburban dwelling protecting himself, and maybe others, from germs and other dangers real and imagined. Jonathan's only true connection to the real world is his hospitalized mother, Annabelle (Lisa Roumain), and Fred (Trent Walker), whose deliveries to and fro help to explain Jonathan's survival and more than a few of his quirks.
All is normal in Jonathan's slightly abnormal world until one day he catches Town Monroe (Gee) stealing his packages and attempts to intervene much to the dismay of Town's atypically psycho boyfriend Benny (James Aaron Oliver), who promptly lays waste to Fred and runs off after Town begs for shelter.
Suddenly, Jonathan's well-protected and secluded world isn't so safe.
There's formula to be found in Alone Wolf, but as nearly anyone will tell you formula's not always a bad thing when it actually works. With Alone Wolf, the formula for the most part works on the strength of a strong ensemble indie cast and that aforementioned chemistry between de Klerk and Gee that starts off as tension, builds into something more relaxed, then takes a few labyrinthian turns through tension and release.
In a COVID-19 world, a guy like Jonathan doesn't quite feel so unrealistic and this may very well be the perfect time to unleash Alone Wolf into the world. Jonathan's paranoia is well-grounded, but there's something infinitely likable about him and it's not exactly a surprise when Town taps into that and our dysfunctional duo seems to find healing in more ways than one.
I will confess I found the film's more menacing moments a bit less convincing, Oliver's Benny a tad too underdeveloped despite Oliver's otherwise solid performance in a role that could have easily gone one-note but never does. The thrills do amp up as Town and Benny face-off to reach Town's daughter, Sarah (Emily Muggleton), but Alone Wolf really soars on the strength of watching the charismatic de Klerk and emotionally honest Gee do their thing.
Lensing by Barry Idoine (The Mandalorian) is crisp and nicely frames both action sequences and relational moments with equal precision, while the music by James Griffiths adds another layer of richness to the film's tapestry.
Alone Wolf had its world premiere at the Hollywood Reel Film Festival where the film picked up the Best Editing prize, but really should see its cinematic life unfold now that it's arrived on VOD via indie distributor Gravitas Ventures. You can check it out for yourself in all the familiar places including Amazon Prime, Vimeo, Youtube, Fandango Now, AT&T, and a host of others.
You're secluded. You're trying hard to avoid an infection. What have you got to lose? Just, well, watch out for any deliveries.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic