Alone With Her is an intelligent thriller about a practiced, professional stalker named Doug (Colin Hanks) who settles on a single, 20-something young woman in the Los Angeles area and then goes to work with breathtaking efficiency. Before Amy (Mexican actress Ana Claudia Talancon) even knows that she's about to have a new best friend, Doug has already broken into her apartment and is carefully watching her every move through the easily-purchased 'nanny cams' he's placed in every room. With unfettered access to her personal life, he begins to soak up information like a sponge -- her job, her taste in music, her sort-of boyfriend -- and then uses that information as currency at 'random' coffee-shop meetings where he tries to strike up a friendship. Even though Amy is intrigued at bumping into a stranger who likes the same obscure band and watches the same movies, she instantly confesses to a friend that there's something odd about Doug that she can't quite put a finger on. Even though his words are perfect, the music underneath is still sinister.
What sets the film a notch above standard genre fare is its ability to ask bigger questions about a stalker like Doug. Does he really believe that a complete absence of chemistry can be overcome through superior information? What would happen if all his manipulations eventually paid off in a fantasy bedroom encounter -- is it even possible he could perform? Does he really expect to worm his way into a working relationship, or does he really get off on the game itself? One of the most chilling scenes occurs when Doug makes a 'mistake' during a routine encounter with Amy's best friend, Jennifer. (Jordana Spiro) Having misjudged Jennifer's suspicions of him, which are huge, he steps into her trap when she asks him a question about a phony place in the town he says he's from. As soon as the words escape his lips, he realizes she's just caught him in a lie. He excuses himself to the bathroom and begins to hop around in mad frustration, like a little boy who's just been beaten at a video game.
The film is shot entirely through the point of view of Doug's cameras. Most of the time we are seeing through the stationary cameras hidden around Amy's house, sometimes with a time-stamp in the bottom corner and the occasional blitz-out. Sometimes, when Doug is on the move, we see through the eye of a camera concealed in a gym bag and we watch the faces of the person he's addressing while hearing his mousy, robotic voice. Hanks does an admirable job of allowing no trace of charisma or humor or self-awareness to bleed into his performance. His Doug is a man for whom 'personality' is like a house of cards -- if you give him enough time and preparation, he can build up a good one for you, but the slightest breeze will knock it down. His real personality is buried somewhere so deep that it doesn't even rise when it's needed, like in the scenes where he should be engaged in casual conversation with Amy and Jennifer. He finds himself totally incapable of banter, or chit-chat.
It's incredibly sad when we realize how keenly Doug understands the bitter truths about himself. Sensing that Amy will peg him (correctly) as a loser who can attract no female company on his own, he invents an entire fake girlfriend for himself to throw her off the scent, and it actually works....for a while. Eventually, his creepy colors begin to bleed through anyway, and he must paddle ever-harder to keep from sinking under the weight of his lies. Doug begins to put into action a series of elaborate plans to separate Amy from the other people in her life and get her career going in a way that will make her indebted to him. The sad fact that he keeps trying to run circles around -- that Amy doesn't naturally like him -- is one that becomes more pronounced the longer the film goes on. It's a fact will never change, even if she is somehow bamboozled into admiring him for his good deeds or if she decides to just tolerate his continued presence in her life.
Alone With Her treats the stalker as an interesting specimen; having long ago internalized the idea that women will never give him a fair shake, it no longer occurs to him that he might be able to have meaningful contact with them on a one-to-one level. He sets out to give himself a huge informational advantage in dealing with them, in the hopes that it will help him surmount his natural disadvantages. He rationalizes the huge amount of manipulation and misdirection on his part as necessary in order to keep being a player in an unfair game. There's a scene near the end of the film -- one of the few where Colin Hanks' face can be seen straight-on -- that may be the most cringe-worthy of all. Having practically written the book on stalking, Doug suddenly finds himself facing a scenario that's he surely seen played out before in a dozen stalker movies. In one look, he lets us know that he understands exactly what scenario is happening at that particular moment. He knows what scene will come next.