This dark and wickedly fun short film stars Maika Monroe as a woman whose deepest fears seem to manifest physically when her husband, played by Joe Keery, leaves for the night shift. How To Be Alone is the first film from writer/director Kate Trefry who writes on Stranger Things.
I have always been afraid of being alone. But not in the way you think. It was never the idea of an intruder coming in, or a monster hiding under the bed that scared me. It was the spookiness of being forced to face myself, to sit alone with my thoughts, without anyone to perform for. Without anyone to stop me.
When I started writing HOW TO BE ALONE around Halloween, it began as a story about this feeling: the identity crisis that sets in with loneliness and boredom. And yet these other weird themes kept creeping in: sex, motherhood, pregnancy anxiety. I didn’t really know what was going on, but I went with it. The project evolved.
By the time we shot in May, I was five months pregnant.
But now I was faced with a real, actual identity crisis: wait, seriously, who am I though? Am I going to lose part of myself? Is that a bad thing? I could feel myself changing: for the first time, I felt conflicted about covering our baby actor in corn syrup blood, despite the fact that the visual was still very awesome. Pregnancy seemed to offer an ultimatum: in order to be a good mother, you must kill the self that was. Weirdo, badass, artist, mom. Pick one.
Suddenly, HOW TO BE ALONE became a personal statement rejecting this idea. I doubled down. And in doing so, I found a team of collaborators I didn’t think was possible. Every step of the way, people fell in love with this project because it spoke to a secret part of them. From the producers and actors to the cinematographer, production designer and composers, everyone understood the vision in an intimate way. It was shocking: what I had thought was a bizarre personal tic suddenly seemed like a universal truth. The result was a production that was a million things films sets aren’t supposed to be: Easy. Fun. Electric. With these incredible people we shot a film that I am extremely proud of, and somewhere in the process I learned what Lucy already knows: that only by literally embracing our warring identities can we survive.
My original goal for HOW TO BE ALONE was to expose the weird, embarrassing, scary secrets we keep locked up, where they wait for a moment when we are alone to pounce. I wanted to show people of the absurdity of our darkest fears, and to remind them that a powerful phobia is really only evidence of an even more powerful mind.
But if audiences only take away one thing from watching this short, let it be the same thing that I took away from the experience: the knowledge that you are not alone. No matter how strange or dark it is in there, I am with you. We are all with you.