Director – Armand Mastroianni
Cast -Don Scardino, Caitlin O’Heaney, Elizabeth Kemp, Tom Rolfing, Lewis Arlt, Patsy Pease, James Rebhorn, Tom Hanks, Dana Barron, Joseph Leon, Paul Gleason
Release Year – 1980
Reviewed by John of the Dead
I can never get enough of 80s slasher films, and I love that I still have yet to see every single one of them, which means I have a few years of guaranteed joy left in me until I view them all. When I first read about this film it stuck with me, and that was years ago. Why did it stick with me? Well, simply because this film’s title is pretty damn awesome, and reminds me much of When A Stranger Calls, which preceded this one by about a year or so. Well, now that I have finally given He Knows You’re Alone a watch I can say that not only is the title awesome, but thankfully the film itself is awesome as well.
He Knows You’re Alone follows Amy, a young bride-to-be who feels she is being stalked by a strange man. Little does she know, he is not just any ordinary(hah) strange man, but a ruthless killer with an unknown motive for killing young women who are soon to be married. When veteran detective Len Gamble hears news of the killings, he embarks on a vengeance fueled mission to catch the killer, the very killer who took his young bride-to-be from him years prior.
This one surprised me. I was expecting the usual cheezy slasher film, but what I got was a cheezy slasher film but with more to offer than most other in the slasher sub-genre. While we get the usual element of a young attractive woman being stalked by a killer, I have never before seen ANY horror film involving a killer who seeks out young future brides as his victims. Sure other victims get in the way and must be eliminated, but the fact that this awesome killer purposely targeted young brides as an awesome story element that I heavily enjoyed. To make things even cooler, the killer himself is a treat to watch. We don’t get a masked killer in this one, and it works perfectly thanks to an amazing performance from Tom Rolfing, who unfortunately never manifested into the iconic actor he could have been despite his tall, dark, and handsome looks. Yes, how often do we get(I’m not gay) a potentially good-looking killer doing all of the dirty work? Not often, but I’ll take it solely because we rarely see it. Rolfing’s performance as the killer was top-notch, and his mannerisms and perfect use of eye and facial expressions was epic. Much like the killer in Black Christmas, we get a slasher that not only shows his true depravity by his actions, but by his expressions, which I find highly enjoyable and give much respect to.
Story-wise we get a few other elements thrown in, such as the usage of Det. Len Gamble as the vengeful widower who had his bride taken from him by the very killer stalking Amy. Lewis Artl’s performance as Det. Gamble was also well executed, and he really got me to care for him and feel his pain and hatred over his bride’s killer, who is still on the loose. His frustration is felt, his determination is felt, and his pain is felt, all due to proper writing and a good performance. Oh, and while on the topic of characters, this film marks the screen debut of Hollywood legend Tom Hanks as Elliot, the jogger that Amy’s best friend Nancy falls for.
Director Armand Mastroianni did a fine job pacing and executing this film as I never once lost interest in what was going on. It is a shame this guy has since reserved himself for mainly made-for-TV movies these days, but he can rest assured he created one of the better slasher films of all time. His camerawork made for some pretty creepy scenes and kills, and his perfect usage of Tom Wolfing really sold this film to me.
Overall, this is an awesome slasher film that I recommend to fans of the slasher sub-genre who would like to see a slasher that gives us the “formula” we know and love, but comes with some original elements that are highly engaging and enjoyable as well.