I can’t help but imagine how the protagonist of Charles Ehrlinger’s suburban thriller Alone Wolf would have handled the pandemic and social unrest that have so far marked 2020. He’d probably need an underground bunker as opposed to his modest one story home protected only by deadbolt and doorbell camera. But it’s 2018 according to this feature’s script and the unrest here is far more localized and personal.
Having developed a life-long fear of infection due to lax safety standards at the town plant leading to the death of both his parents, the eponymous lone wolf of the picture Jonathan (Richard de Klerk) is content to sell 3D-printed survival kits over his website from his plastic-lined home. The only outside world contact arrives daily in the form of delivery driver Fred (Trent Walker) picking up and dropping off various packages.
Johnathan’s hermit existence is soon blown wide open when a porch piracy incident gone wrong results in one dead Fred at the hands of the unstable Benny (James Aaron Oliver). Jonathan takes pity on his unwilling (and attractive) accomplice Town (Cara Gee) and offers her the sanctuary of his private domain. As Town gradually breaks him out of his shell helping him to deal with his mother’s recent death as well as ballroom dancing lessons, she soon convinces him to help bust her daughter out of foster care, fearing that estranged ex Benny will get to her first. With matters complicated by increasing harassment by hard boiled Detective Bradley (Steve Lewis) who remains convinced of Jonathan’s involvement in the murder, the former lone wolf will need more than a survival kit to make it to the end credits.
Arriving at a uniquely timely moment, Alone Wolf will find most of it’s audience having lived a similar existence to Jonathan (albeit a far less sterile one). Unlike those in the Covid-era, his isolation is a choice, one enhanced by expert mise-en-scéne in both set design (Marie Jach) and cinematography (Barry Idoine) which capably isolate us right along with Johnathan, throwing much of the outside world into a foreboding blur.
Real-life Canadian power couple de Klerk and Gee capture the screen in their respective portrayals of neurotic recluse and life challenged single mom. They are two souls crossing paths. She needs a sanctuary and he needs to break free from his. The supporting cast is less sound with Oliver’s menacing Benny needing more screen time whereas Steve Lewis’ scene-chewing detective may well have wandered off the set of a College Humour skit.
Alone Wolf succeeds on the strength of its leads and visual presentation despite the odd bout of B-movie fever. Its on-demand release in a post-Covid world only enhances the appeal and audience empathy for this suburban thriller. Just make sure to get out of the house afterwards.
Alone Wolf is now available on VOD, Cable and Physical media.