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Was 'He Knows You're Alone' A Trend Setter? (Review)

HE KNOWS YOU’RE ALONE is an unorthodox low budget slasher released back in 1980: Way back before slashers were a regular genre staple. The story pits serial killer versus soon to be brides, in what really equates to an extremely dark case of jealousy and rage. Ray Carlton (Tom Rolfing) is a lover scorned turned psychopathic murderer, and nce his own relationship crumbled years ago, he’s taken a liking to dispong of brides. After all - if he can’t be happy - no one can! Isn’t that how it goes?

For young Amy Jensen (Caitlin O‘Heaney), wedding bells are on the horizon. She and Phil (James Carroll) are scheduled to be married in a matter of weeks, and by some strange twist of fate…or telepathic abilities, Ray knows it. Given Ray’s unexplained, but acute awareness of the tuation he sets out to bring premature closure to Amy’s tidy plans. Exactly how Ray possesses this information is never truly explored, but that’s a detail that’s really not required to tell this specific tale. What is required, is the back-story, which divulges key information that helps define certain characters (particularly Detective Len Gamble who is played by Lewis Arlt), and their relevance to the grand plot.

Given the format in which the film is structured, to dig any deeper into Len’s gnificance would be to pull the rug out from beneath the viewer, and take away what little mystery the picture offers. I say this because there really isn’t much abstruseness to the plot. As viewers, we see and know who the killer is from the opening sequence… we just don’t know precisely what’s driven Ray to commit such heinous murders. Detective Gamble however, will answer those questions for us, as he trails Ray - desperate to find him before he can find Amy. Though Len Gamble is indeed successful in locating Amy, he’s a little slow on the jump, and as a result, plenty of Amy’s close friends pay for his inability to solve the riddle in speedier fashion. Interestingly enough, it’s this detail that lures us into some fairly murky water.

A prime example of the aring murky waters is Ray’s inconstent victim selection. If a serial killer’s modus operandi is to eliminate future brides, why off a random professor, especially if that random professor isn’t a direct obstacle between Ray and his prey, Amy? A select few non-bride murders can be explained away, but a few cannot; and that discrepancy, though slight is an annoying one to say the least. However, given the financial and time restraints that writer Scott Parker and director Armand Mastroianni faced while filming ALONE, it’s an overlookable discrepancy. After all, the entire film was created (from the script up) in just over two weeks-time. For a rushed job, I’d say a few slight plot-holes should actually be expected.

Though HE KNOWS YOU’RE ALONE drags in spots, but it’s a spirited flick with a few eerie moments (one of Ray’s first victims meets her fate in a great theatre sequence that’s been duplicated many, many times nce) that stick to the viewer, and a few performances that merit a great deal of recognition. Tom Rolfing is an oddly frightening fellow with damn haunting eyes, while 30 Rock’s Don Scardino (who portrays Amy’s ex-boyfriend Marvin) really steals the show with fluid comedy and true charisma. Also noteworthy is the big screen debut of superstar Tom Hanks (who plays college student Elliot). Surpringly, he provides a very comfortable performance despite his inexperience. Furthermore, Tom manages to make Elliot a memorable character despite a lack of serious screen time. A handful of solid, but less than spectacular performances accentuate some of the real stars on display, and ultimately helps keep the train railed for 94 minutes; it's no trend setting film, but it's made it's mark and left it's influence over the years, of that there's no doubt.


Don’t expect a wide array of bonus material here, as it’s just not happening. You can however anticipate some excellent audio commentary from Armand Mastroianni and Scott Parker. There are a lot of great details revealed in the commentary, and I personally found it more enlightening than 75% of the commentary I catch on DVD’s these days. Also included is the films original theatrical trailer.

Grade: B-
Matt_Molgaard Wednesday 10/12/2011 at 05:22 PM | 84809