Greenpoint Film Festival Review: Locked Away

Year: 2018

Runtime: 82 minutes

Director/Writer: Yung-Jen Yan

Stars: Claie Hsu, Theodore Michael Newton, Travis Power, Wenlei Chiu

By Georgia De Souza

To create a feature length film primarily within one location, and one character can seem like an extreme task, but Yung-Jen Yan effectively did so in his thriller ‘Locked Alone.’ The narrative follows a young woman (Claire Hsu) moving into a Manhattan apartment. A seemingly nice location, affordable apartment and the world at her feet. However, she soon finds out that it is far from the American Dream-like life she was hoping for, as an unwelcomed presence locks her in the apartment, isolated and with minimal resources.

“Yung-Jen Yan effectively created an attachment to the young woman’s determination and utter torment of being trapped in the apartment.”

By minimalising the attention on extra characters, but focusing on one main character, Catherine, Yung-Jen Yan effectively created an attachment to the young woman’s determination and utter torment of being trapped in the apartment.

As the audience, we are made to follow the narrative with Catherine, the glimpse of hope, the realisation of how dangerous the presence of Brendt Bundy (Travis Power) is, and the consistently unsuccessful attempts she has of escaping. Catherine’s resilience allows her to find different ways to escape but is always outsmarted by the presence of Bundy (aptly linked to the female serial killer, Ted Bundy). The final sign of hope, as her long-distance boyfriend Ethan (Theodore Michael Newton) returns to check-up on her, only adds more trouble into the mix, questioning her ability to ever be able to leave the apartment alive.

“Yan has effectively created an intriguing narrative built with anticipation and tension”

Stereotypical conventions of the thriller genre are highly echoed in the 82-minute film, which worked to make it overall quite a predictable film for this genre. Whilst the storyline did not feel unique and certain elements such as the Ouija board only added a tick to thriller mise-en-scene conventions the concept of the one main location, and one focusing character was refreshing. Like many thriller and horror films, the Ouija board was used by Catherine to converse with the evil spiritual presence of Bundy, an evil eye stone as the indicator.

Despite this, Yan’s use of the hand game – rock, paper, scissors – came as a pleasant surprise, utilising Warut Sindvongs’ (Director of Photography) talent to produce the eerie communication between Bundy and Catherine.

Ultimately whilst not a jaw-droppingly tense thriller, Yan has effectively created an intriguing narrative built with anticipation and tension, including a wonderful performance from Claire Hsu.

“Locked Alone” is billed alongside many others on the Greenpoint Film Festival. Due to COVID-19 the festival will be accessible through drive-in cinemas from August 1st to 9th in Brooklyn NY.  Locked Alone will be premiering 10:30pm on August 7th at The Lot Drive in.

To find out more, please check out Locked Alone site here: http://www.lockedalone.com/

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