Inside Out 2016: Alena

Alena

Being a teenager at a new school can be tough, in Alena’s (Amalia Holm) case it is downright awful. Forced to change schools after a traumatic incident, she immediately finds herself being bullied by Filippa (Molly Nutley), the most popular girl at school. The star of the lacrosse team, Filippa does not like the idea of Alena joining the team and possibly stealing her thunder. The fact that Fabienne (Felice Jankel), one of the few students at the school who is neither intimidate or impressed by Filippa’s antics, has taken a liking to Alena adds further fuel to Filippa’s angst-ridden fire.

Outside of Fabienne, the only other person who seems to be concerned with the daily abuse Alena receives is Josefin (Rebecka Nyman), a friend from her former school who always seems to be lurking about just out of sight. As the harassment of Alena intensifies, Josefin starts to take matters in her own hands, leaving to a trail of bodies in the process.

Adapted from Kim W. Andersson’s graphic novel, Alena does a solid job of establishing an unsettling atmosphere. While edgy enough to satisfy the young adult audience it is clearly appealing to, seasoned horror fans, and even the casual ones, will not be as easily swayed by this psychological thriller. Despite the strong performances, especially Molly Nutley’s marvelous turn as the spoiled brat Filippa, Daniel di Grado’s film shows its hand before it actually intends to. While Alena attempts to drop crumbs leading up to a big reveal, audiences will figure out the secret long before the end of the film. As a result, they are left to merely watch the characters go through the motions.

Alena may feature a sleek look and solid performances, however, without the suspense of the big secret to bind it together, it ultimately lacks the chills needed to make it a truly thrilling experience.