When Liongate’s horror thriller, “Alone”, went into production, nobody could have predicted how closely life would imitate art.
The film takes place in a world plagued by a pandemic that transforms people into ravenous zombies dubbed “screamers”.
At the heart of the narrative stands Aidan, portrayed by “Teen Wolf”’s Tyler Posey, a carefree guy who barricades himself inside his apartment in order to survive. However, as the days drag on and Aidan’s supplies start to dwindle, self-isolation becomes much scarier than what’s lurking outside. The overall themes of the movie – scheduled to drop Oct.16 on VOD – obviously couldn’t be more on-the-nose given the current, real-world Covid outbreak.
“Before the pandemic happened, we had a lot of relatable stuff in the movie already, because movies are better when the audience can relate to the characters and the context of everything, which was being alone and with yourself for the first time in forever,” Posey tells ET Canada. “It’s insanely synchronized with how accurate that is now. I think people will really be able to relate with what’s going on. My character is forced to be alone for 40-something days. He loses his mind. He doesn’t believe in himself. But then he overcomes everything, which a lot of people have done. A lot of people have done some self-reflecting during the pandemic. I know I have.”
Actors typically find themselves in the company of cast members when making a movie. They feed off of each other’s energy and react to one another in scenes. That wasn’t the case for Posey. His character Aidan spends most of the movie quarantined and confined. That meant a lot of alone time for Posey, who could only rely on himself to carry the performance. The 28-year-old California native admits he “loved” the process and “thrived by myself”.
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“There are actors who have an idea of how they want to play the scene,” Posey says. “And no matter what the actor gives them, they always play it the same way. But, for me, I really like to play around with the other actor and make everything different. Each take I want it to mean the same thing and have the same context, but read it differently and give the editor some stuff they can choose from.
“But with this one, I had to do that on my own, which was bizarre,” he continues. “I was acting with myself, a lot of times in front of the mirror. I loved it. I feel like I flourished being alone on the set. And since we are in such close quarters, it could have been claustrophobic. If I were an asshole or a diva, then it would have been a really difficult shoot. But I like to be somebody on the set that people can rely on to have a good time and get things done professionally. I loved being alone on a set. Then it became that much more special when there was somebody to act opposite.”
“Alone” could have spiralled into familiar horror territory. However, zombies aren’t Aidan’s only concern. His mental health slowly deteriorates, too. The fate of his parents – their whereabouts or even if they are still alive – weigh heavily on his mind. Eventually, Aidan reaches a breaking point and contemplates suicide.
“Aidan is somebody who has relied on his parents his entire life,” Posey explains. “In the beginning of the movie, you see a rent cheque posted to his bathroom mirror. It’s basically his mother saying, ‘Here’s your rent cheque for this month, sweetheart.’ He’s always relied on his parents for everything, so he feels extremely alone.”
“He realizes how fragile he is without anybody to help him navigate through life, and how much of a coward he actually is,” says Posey. “Knowing you are a coward, or finding out you are a coward, it’s got to be hard on you and your soul. It makes you not want to keep going. At one point, he gives up. He doesn’t want to go any further. He tries to keep his food and water as long as possible, but when they start to diminish, he loses all hope of fighting. That is where he is at the beginning of the movie. He realizes how much of a nuance to society he’s always been and ‘Why should I be living when my parents maybe aren’t?’”
When all seems lost, Aidan notices his attractive neighbour, Eva [Summer Spiro], who resides in the complex across the courtyard. She’s also holed herself up. The two begin communicating and develop a special relationship. And, in many ways, Eva saves Aidan.
“Aidan is the least strong person of this movie until he has this sort of rebirth,” Posey says. “When he first finds Eva, she is the complete opposite of him. She looks very beautiful and she’s painting. It almost seems like there is no pandemic happening, whereas Aidan is about to die from exhaustion and lack of food and water. He looks like he’s been through the wringer. So, she’s just the complete opposite of him.”
“It really blows his mind that somebody could maintain such a strong appearance during all of this and then gives him a bigger reason to live for,” he adds. “He also pities her that she’s alone like him, so he has this connection with her, where he knows somewhat what she’s been through.”
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On top of Alone’s emotional gravitas, there’s plenty to get the adrenaline pumping. Aidan runs, jumps, climbs and fights. Posey wanted this role to be physically challenging… and he got his wish. A bit of a daredevil, he even performed many of his own stunts.
“There are these two stunts that I did, where I am standing on the balcony on the top floor of this six-storey building,” Posey says. “I have to jump from one balcony to the other. There’s no padding underneath me. I just had a string or a rope holding on to me. If that were to break, I would fall and severely injure myself. There was that heightened ‘I better make this jump,’ so I was embodying what Aidan was going through.”
“There’s another stunt where I have to take these bed sheets that I initially made as a noose to kill myself,” he adds. “But then I throw them over the balcony. Instead of scaling down and going hand over hand, I jump down. I was freefalling for a good 30 feet, maybe more. Every instinct that you have is fighting jumping off a balcony. Your body doesn’t want you to do that. When I was standing on the edge of the balcony ready to jump, you have to overcome all of your instincts to do the stunt. It’s bizarre but so rewarding. Then, at one point my foot got tangled in the safety rope. It turned me upside down. I think that’s the take we used, but it was an intense scenario.”
The zombies ultimately overrun both Aidan and Eva’s buildings. They must unite and escape… or die trying. “Alone” not only delves into Aidan’s darkest mind space, a place of anguish and despair, but it also examines the resolve and strength of the human spirit.
“’Alone’ says that as much as the human spirit can be broken down and feel like there’s nothing left, there’s always something to fight for when you find out that there’s bigger things than you to live for,” Posey concludes. “There are so many times humans give up because they feel that they don’t have anything else to live for. But there’s always, always something bigger than yourself to live for, whether it’s family, a new love or God. In my eyes, that’s what this movie symbolizes.”