Emily Bennet and Justin Brooks’ claustrophobic shocker, Alone with You can finally be seen in all of its paranoid glory by mainstream audiences. The film follows a young woman trapped in her apartment while being haunted by ghostly whispers and demons from the past. This one should be a treat for most fans of indie horror. One of the film’s biggest surprises may be the performance by Barbara Crampton as the lead’s overbearing mother. The Jakob’s Wife star was able to hop on the phone for an exclusive chat to chat about making Alone with You and the best mind-bending movies out there.
Wicked Horror: How did you first get involved with Alone with You, and what aspect of the project really drew you in initially?
Barbara Crampton: I was sent the project by a casting director that I had worked with before and I knew that Andrew Corkin and Theo James were producing. Andrew of course produced some really great movies and continues to be a very prolific producer. He did We Are What We Are and Martha Marcy May Marlene. Theo James was in the Divergent series. I didn’t know Emily Bennet, who was the co-writer/director as well as the star, or Justin Brooks, her co-writer/director, but I do work with many first-time filmmakers. Then I read the script and I really really liked it and I knew Andrew and Theo were on board, and so I talked to them and I really liked them and they told me what they were trying to go for, and how they were going to film it and put it together, and I just got a really nice feeling about this new duo and I thought why not. I knew some of the other actors that were going to be in it, like Emma Myles who was on Orange is the New Black, as well as Dora Madison, and it just seemed like a fun thing to do. I also liked my part. And so it was at the height of the pandemic when we weren’t going out and nobody was filming anything when we shot this, and you know, everybody was home! And they said, ‘this part would be entirely shot on Zoom and we’d send you a camera through the mail so you could also film yourself so we can have lots of angles’. I filmed it over a weekend at my house because no one was in the same room. They shot all the apartment stuff in Brooklyn, and other stuff on a deserted beach because of Covid, and out on the streets of Brooklyn. There weren’t a lot of people out at that point and you know, it was a DIY project. I was pretty amazed at how well it all came together and I was REALLY amazed by Emily’s performance as Charlie. I also thought Justin Brooks was fantastic as a cinematographer. The film is at times scary and really tense and had a big paranoia aspect to it, this franticness. I’m just very impressed with Bennet and Brooks and just really glad and proud to be a part of the project.
Wicked Horror: So you say you filmed some of your own part. Tell me a little bit more about that.
Barbara Crampton: Well they sent me the camera through the mail and I set it up and Justin was very helpful with that, and I did my own make-up, obviously my own lighting design and everything.
Wicked Horror: Very impressive!
Barbara Crampton: Thank you! We went over everything quite a bit. They also filmed me through the lens of the Zoom so they could get a couple of different angles. You know, I just pressed play and started talking and that was it! I sent them the card and the camera back and then they were able to put it together themselves. We did some rehearsals on Zoom a couple days before that. We talked about the characters a lot and together, we kind of came up with an approach for the scenes and that was that.
Wicked Horror: This movie is very enigmatic to me, and I’m sure everybody on set had their own interpretations of what this movie is really about, so what do you think it means?
Barbara Crampton: Well, I think it’s an interesting piece because initially, you don’t really know what’s happening. Charlie is preparing a homecoming for her girlfriend who’s been away, she’s late and all these strange things are occurring in the apartment and she begins feeling scared and upset and a little frantic. She starts hearing voices and you think ‘oh, is she being haunted? or is this all in her head? or is this a dream?’ It gives way to such extreme paranoia, and it kind of reminded me of that movie The Tenant. As an audience member, your trying to figure out what’s happening, and to me, I mean I don’t want to give the movie away, but to me, it really becomes clear what happened and what this young woman did, and I think it also showcases the feelings inside of her that were sort of stilted or unrealized and a lot of that came from her upbringing and my character, who is an overbearing, unforgiving mother. So it becomes clear to me what she did but we also get the why, and that’s not to say that you can forgive this young woman for what she did because you can’t, so to me, it was a big realization of what this character had gone through and what she had done and really realizing her own pain but also coming to the realization that it was her fault and she has some comeuppance at the end.
Wicked Horror: Alone with You is definitely a mindbender, what would you say is your favorite mindbending film of all time.
Barbara Crampton: I really like that Lovecraftian movie that Sam Neil was in, what was that one called?
Wicked Horror: I think you’re talking about Possession.
Barbara Crampton: No, I’m not. Although I love that movie too! We’ll have to look up Sam Neil. It’s where he played the author.
Wicked Horror: Oh! Now I do know what your talking about! The John Caparenter one. In The Mouth of Madness.
Barbara Crampton: Yeah! I really like that one. So I’d say as a mindbender, anything Lovecraftican is close to my heart. So yeah, I would say In The Mouth Of Madness is one of my very favorite mindbending movies. I think Sam Neil is such a great actor, but a really underrated Lovecraftian actor. He’s got the sense of what Lovecraft always goes for, which is this kind of feeling of impending doom and never being able to understand or grapple with what the universe is doing to you and what it is about and the questions that we will always have about the universe. I think Neil was just amazing in that role and I really love that movie.