In the long history of horror, lesbian relationships have been something of a fixation for directors. That fascination has produced works of camp, wildly homophobic characters and, occasionally, refreshing representation. “Alone With You,” the first feature from the writing-directing duo Emily Bennett and Justin Brooks, is the latest horror film to join this lineage. Unfortunately, its lesbian representation is so shoddy that its scares also suffer.
The film centers on Charlie (Bennett), a makeup artist in New York who lives with her girlfriend, Simone (Emma Myles), who is a photographer. Charlie is excited for Simone to return home on the night of their anniversary, but as Simone becomes increasingly unreachable and Charlie finds herself locked in their Brooklyn apartment, a more sinister narrative begins to creep in. It appears that Simone is not who she says she is, but neither, it seems, is Charlie.
First, the lesbian problem: The female leads never kiss (or, for that matter, touch), but there are multiple shots of Simone, who is mainly depicted as neglectful and untrustworthy, kissing a man.
The horror problem is slightly less dire. “Alone With You” is often canny in its creepiness, layering ominous oddities atop each other before the jump scares emerge. But because Charlie and Simone’s relationship is already doubtful, the whole third act — including the “why” behind all this terror — falls apart. Is Charlie a tortured lover or just another textbook lesbian psycho? Either way, the film’s climactic reveal is regressive, treading the same ground as “High Tension” or “What Keeps You Alive.”
Alone With You
Not rated. Running time: 1 hour 23 minutes. In theaters now, on demand Feb. 8.