The Columbian home page

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

“Alone With Her” -- terror for the technological age

By Tia Wester

When Amy Ruis first meets Doug at the coffee shop, he seems like a nice guy. Doug is a little nervous and awkward, but sweet. Amy hasn’t been in L.A. long and is eager to have another friend. But it’s not chance or coincidence that have brought Doug and Amy together. Doug is a disturbed young man, and he is Amy’s personal stalker.

“Alone With Her” is the first feature film by Canadian-born writer/director Eric Nicholas. It features Colin Hanks in the role of Doug and relative unknown Ana Claudia Talacon as Amy. The unique thing about this film, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2006, is that it is shot entirely with hidden cameras. Nicholas’ inspiration for the film came when he stumbled upon a Web site that sold dirt-cheap spy equipment to the general public. Upon further research, he found hundreds of similar Web sites and retail spy shops all across the United States and in Europe. “I was blown away,” says Nicholas in a director’s statement to the Tribeca Film Festival Web site. “Anyone with $50 could secretly watch and listen to me inside my own home. This terrifying potential for invasion of individual privacy drove me to write what is essentially a 21st-century cautionary tale.”

And what a tale. Doug, a seemingly mild-mannered young man, spends an entire day in early August walking around, spying on women with a camera hidden in his backpack. Late in the day, he sees Amy playing with her dog in the park. She’s beautiful, but there is something sad about her that fuels Doug’s obsession. He follows her home, to her morning coffee shop and to work. He even breaks into her apartment while she’s out of town to install spy cameras, sound recorders and a tap on her phone. He learns all her likes and dislikes, using what he learns to integrate himself into her life. A lot of the footage in the film is time stamped, so the viewer not only knows when he’s watching, but also how long his obsession with Amy lasts.

The most terrifying thing about this film isn’t Doug and his voyeuristic obsession with Amy; it’s the ease with which Doug procures his spy equipment. Telephone recorders, locksmithing gear and mini cameras can be purchased for next to nothing. When Doug asks if he needs a license, the sales clerks laughs. “No,” he says, “It’s totally legal.” The reality of the situation is what makes “Alone With Her” a jaw-dropping indie thriller not to be missed. The film is available to rent at 9th Street Video or online at

Photo Courtesy of
Doug falls asleep next to Amy.

No comments: