Tuesday, October 5, 2021

The Alpines: Movie Review

A little convoluted and slow, but an ending which really fits the characters.
Seven friends have gathered in a remote log cabin. They’re going to drink, flirt, and rehash their good old college days. But before you get too comfortable, The Alpines is most definitely not a simple dramedy or rom-com. Something sinister has brought them together – a demon, a ghost, or psychopath stalker from college? The friends identify early on that none of them are nice enough, cool enough or interesting enough to inspire outside hostility.   2021

Directed by: Dante Aubain

Screenplay by: Mally Corrigan

Starring: Aaron Latta-Morissette, Mally Corrigan, Daniel Victor, Jesse Mac, Michael Taveira, Katrina Diehm and Nigel Quinn

Old hostilities are resurfacing, affairs turning sour. The friends are receiving anonymous threats, hints at dark secrets, and the movie invites the audience to start playing detective. First, what or who is the malevolent force behind the threats, and second, who is trying to hide which secrets? Some are obvious like Roger is a drug addict, but the why he’s a drug addict is a very dark reveal. A lot of the secrets are a convoluted mess of who was sleeping with whom behind who’s back, and who actually likes whom.

The film does move slowly. While the seven friends do all have distinct personalities and motivating characteristics, they are not always revealed in the most compelling fashion. There’s also a lot of amateur acting on display. The majority of the actors are new, young, freshman with an apparent lack of experience. But it’s still well cast – the actors all know their specific role and how their characters fit in with one another. Also, the best actor of the cast (Aaron Latta-Morissette) is the given the pivotal character of Zach. The quiet one who knows his own torments.

The atmosphere of The Alpines is reasonably well created. The score is creepy but over-done, the house has an open living room but small bedrooms – which really aids in the feeling of being trapped (which they all perceive they are due to a storm, lost cell service, and a flat tire when two tried to drive into town). But ultimately what really works is the story and where it’s all headed – this is a story of the seven deadly sins. And once it was all revealed, everything just clicked into place – the filmmakers knew exactly how to craft these characters to tell this particular story.

The Alpines is a perfect example of an indie movie that will survive based on the strength of their convictions – writer Mally Carrigan and director Dante Aubain know exactly what story this movie is telling. There are limitations with a minimal budget and inexperienced actors, it also moves slowly at times, and the ending is startling, but it’s also smart, and I can appreciate what they’ve done here.