‘The Alpines’ is a psychological thriller that follows the story of seven friends who, for several years, have had little to no contact with each other at all. They eventually come together and go for a weekend getaway in the woods after an invitation to a get-together is extended to each one of them. What the squad doesn’t know is that the reunion is a ruse, and the seven invitations are not from who they think they are. To add insult to the injury, the vacation cabin the team is staying in is of unknown origin. Well, this cabin is located in the dense woods next to a lake, so fans of horror movies can already start suspecting a sinister happening lurking on the horizon.
Now, at first, this hangout is pretty innocent in its intention however the more time the septet spent together, the more they realize how apart they have grown. Things escalate when the group discovers an ominous message inscribed in what appears to be blood on the cabin wall. This act threatens to lay bare the members’ most haunting secrets of their past. They all of a sudden start suspecting that there is a stalker in the woods tracking them or one in their midst has a hidden motive to air their dirty laundry that has been buried for years in public.
This intriguing title stars Mally Corrigan, Aaron Latta-Morissette, Katrina Diehm, Jessie Mac, Niguel Quinn, Michael Taveira, and Daniel Victor.
‘The Alpines’ was actually shot in a confined location for 13 days with a small crew and is directed by Dante Aubain from a screenplay penned by one of the cast members Mally Corrigan. The plot is playfully cliché and challenges the audiences to put on their thinking caps. Still, it constantly escalates in its performance, taking the viewer on a roller coaster of exhilarating twists and turns. Tension is built in the first 20 minutes of the film, which is maintained throughout the running time.
The performance by the cast led by Zach, who is played by Aaron Latte-Morisette, are pretty solid as each character has their own specific trait, which the actors excellently embody, making sure they function in their daily lives but with enough edge to ensure their action at the point of vulnerability remains recognizable. In fact, the executions are so fantastic to the extent that the audience gets fairly attached to the aspect of rebuilding past relationships and how the various characters interact with each other.
The drama is extremely entertaining, packed with arguments, exciting conflicts as well as good times, with the climax finale stepping things up, laying bare the cringing ace of clashing evils.
The score was done by sound designer Sebastian Goodridge and consists of both tunes from his catalog and new compositions, which bring forth a spooky atmosphere that helps the mystery gradually unfold throughout the movie. The music is often somber in tone, driving audiences deeper into the uncertain world of confusion and unease. There is also a juxtaposition of music and dead silence that resonates and intensifies the scenes. The moments of silence are deafening, and the fact that they are strategically put throughout the film gives the most tremendous meaning and bearing of the movie.
The visuals are pretty appealing, both the interior and the external ones. The movie opens with some amazingly shot scenes, gorgeous panning of the desert, the green leafy forests, peaceful lakes oozing tranquility to a dramatic switch into a terrifyingly isolated and hostile environment. Once the narrative kick starts, the location of the holiday cabin and, more so, the contrast of the space within sets a significant backdrop for the confrontations that ensue. The cabin works tremendously well in exploring the two extremes. It is a cozy atmosphere when it is all puppies and rainbows with lots of catching up and drinking but instantly turns into a claustrophobic melting pot when relationships go south. To further enhance the tension and the feeling of being asphyxiated, the luxurious, spacious chalets now become suffocating spaces where secret pacts are crafted as well as backs being stabbed by those initially considered pals.
What’s most impressive about this movie is that great attention to detail is concentrated entirely on the big picture and its allusion to the human condition despite being pessimistic. When one looks at movies of the same genre, there is the tendency to have an obvious antagonist and a morally superior protagonist with the plot serving the characters. In this flick, it is the other way around, with the characters serving the wider structure.
When you talk about a motion picture that admiringly assembles all the aspects of a great movie together, then ‘The Alpines’ absolutely fits that category. There are definitely moments of awe in this feature regarding make-up, location, cinematography, music, plot, direction, and the chemistry between the actors that top up the level of admiration viewers have after witnessing the story unfold. All the essential elements nicely come together to give out an organic feel that doesn’t come out as forced.
The ending, though, wasn’t as compelling as anticipated though it brings everything all together. It was a bit too obvious contrary to what the film served in earlier scenes. Not that it was awful, but it doesn’t leave the viewers mesmerized.
‘The Alpines’ might not be the perfect movie; however, it is a slow-burn thriller made on a shoestring budget. It is simple, well-executed, and character centric. Rather than focusing on some supernatural or serial killer premise, it shines a spotlight on people and their relationships. It is about those dark secrets people keep from each other, even their confidants, and the ever-present feeling of being lonely and left out. It really is a fun ride that once it catches one’s attention with tons of tension and claustrophobic feel, it definitely keeps viewers entertained until the credits roll. Overall, ‘The Alpines’ is an exhilarating, psychologically charged experience that is worth every single minute of one’s time.