Alone’s 10 Scariest Moments That Totally Stressed Us Out, Ranked
14 mins read

Alone’s 10 Scariest Moments That Totally Stressed Us Out, Ranked


  • Jessica’s escape from Sam’s car while he disposes of a body is the scariest and most intense moment in “Alone” (2020).
  • The graphic violence in the final faceoff between Jessica and Sam creates high stakes and anticipation for the outcome.
  • The heart-racing scenes in “Alone” are accentuated by the remote Oregon setting, heightening the suspense.



This article contains discussion of suicide, stalking, kidnapping, and graphic violence.

Alone (2020) is full of suspense, but some of its scariest moments were more agonizing and stressful than others. Directed by John Hyams, Alone follows Jessica (Jules Willcox), a recently widowed woman escaping the city and her past by moving to a remote area on her own. On her journey, Jessica finds herself crossing paths with the same off-putting man (whose name is later revealed to be Sam, played by Marc Menchaca) multiple times, and these not-so-chance encounters end up putting Jessica through hell. Alone is separated into five chapters based on the different stages of Jessica’s escape.

The screenplay for Alone was written by Mattias Olsson and serves as a remake of Olsson’s 2011 Swedish film, Gone (“Försvunnen”).

The critically acclaimed psychological thriller has an impressive 91% score on Rotten Tomatoes, with many critics praising the bone-chilling performances by the small cast of Alone 2020. Another element of Alone praised by critics is its “minimalistic approach” established by its remote Pacific Northwest setting. Different parts of Oregon served as the filming locations for Alone, with the wilderness scenes taking place in the Mount Hood National Forest. By heightening the suspense of the film, Alone‘s remote setting creates a more gripping and heart-racing viewing experience and produces terrifying and stress-inducing moments throughout each chapter.

Alone (2020) is available to stream on Netflix.


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10 Jessica Almost Drowns In The River

Chapter 2: “The River”

Jules Willcox as Jessica in Alone (2020)

After Jessica escapes the cabin, injures her foot, and finds herself stuck between climbing mossy boulders and wading through a coursing river, Sam eventually catches up to her. Jessica opts to jump in the water and immediately gets caught in the current. She is shown from a distance struggling to stay afloat as the river pulls her down. She manages to make it back to shore, but the whole ordeal is stressful to watch. This moment ranks the lowest of the scariest moments because it doesn’t last all that long, and it seemed almost guaranteed that Jess would survive.

9 Sam Pins Jessica Down In The Basement

Chapter 2: “The River”

Alone (2020)

At the cabin, Sam orders Jessica to take her clothes off, but she asks to use the bathroom first as a ruse to try and escape. He pretends to let her but as she approaches the door, he slams her body down and drags her across the floor. Sam proceeds to pin Jessica to the ground as she struggles and cries and pets her face. Sam proceeds to play an old video of Jessica and her late husband on her tablet and asks her about him, to which she reveals he died by suicide.

The threat of increased violence lingers in the air as Sam keeps Jessica incapacitated on the ground. However, the purpose of the scene turns out to be more of a rumination on Jessica’s grief as she sobs over her late husband’s death. For no explicit reason, Sam eventually leaves the basement without causing further harm to her (for now). This doesn’t take away from the fear instilled in Jessica and the viewer while she was trapped in his grip, but it does give the scene a different, less threatening context in retrospect.

8 Jessica Hides From Sam In A Cave At Night

Chapter 4: “The Night”

Alone (2020)

After Sam kills Robert, Jessica manages to escape the sadistic murderer as it begins to rain. As darkness falls, she hides from him inside a cave. Though she can’t see him, Jessica can tell Sam is nearby because of the light from his flashlight and the sound of him whistling. When the light turns off and the whistling stops, Jess thinks the coast is clear and makes a break for it, but it turns out to be a trap. Sam fires a bullet at her and shoots her in the shoulder, but she keeps trekking on by crawling on the forest floor.

The most petrifying and heart-racing part of this moment in Alone is Sam’s menacing whistling and the threatening glow of the flashlight getting brighter and, thus, closer. The fact that she manages to get away from him even after he shoots her makes this scene less scary in hindsight. However, in the moment, the threat of imminent danger was looming, which stirred up more fear even without resulting violence.

7 Sam Breaks Into Jessica’s Car, Drugs & Kidnaps Her In Alone

Chapter 1: “The Road”

A flashlight is flashed on a slashed tire in Alone (2020).

As Jessica inspects the flat tire that caused her to swerve off the road and crash into the ditch, she discovers that it has been slashed. She then sees headlights in the distance coming closer, and her intuition tells her it’s Sam. She hops back in the car and tries to get the ignition to start, with no luck. Sam approaches with a crowbar in hand and smashes the passenger side window of her car before climbing inside. As she struggles to fight back, he knocks her out before drugging her and tying her up.

Sam had been posing as an overly friendly yet suspicious stranger before, but this is the first actual instance of violence in Alone. The implication is that, now that Jessica’s (and the viewer’s) suspicions about this man have been confirmed, anything could happen to her. Neither Jessica nor the audience know what or who exactly she’s up against yet, and the unknown is terrifying.

6 Jessica Hides From Sam In The Closet

Chapter 2: “The River”

Using a rusty nail, Jessica manages to jimmy the key to the basement door out of the outside lock and let herself out of her captivity room. As she slowly makes her way up the stairs, Sam returns home with groceries, so she hides in a closet but keeps the door ajar. Jessica watches through the crack as Sam eats lunch and listens to his phone call with his wife, who thinks he’s on a business trip in California. He also comforts his daughter Mina, who’s not feeling well.

With Jessica in such close proximity to Sam without him knowing that she’s escaped the basement, the anxiety about whether she’ll get caught is palpable. However, this scene goes beyond the uneasiness produced by suspense and into something more disturbing. His phone call with his wife and daughter reveals that he isn’t the standard antisocial loner. Rather, Sam is a family man, someone’s father and husband, who has masterfully hidden his propensity for violence to successfully lead a double life, which makes him even more dangerous.

5 Sam Approaches Jessica & Robert Trapped In The Woods

Chapter 3: “The Rain”

After Jessica meets a generous hunter named Robert (Anthony Heald) in the woods, he offers to give her a ride, but as they’re driving out of the forest, his car gets blocked by a fallen tree. Jessica knows instinctively that this is a trap set up by Sam, so she tries to get Robert to help her push the tree out of the way, but to no avail. She then sees Sam’s car approaching them and falls into hysterics.

Sam pretends Jessica is his sister who is in the midst of a psychotic episode to trick Robert into letting Sam take her with him. Jessica makes Robert ask Sam for his phone to call the police, but instead, Sam beats him to a pulp before shooting him dead. Before the hunter meets his untimely fate, the possibility that Robert might take Sam’s word and let him take Jessica produces a deep sense of dread. This scene also confirms once and for all that Sam is definitely capable of murder and has no problem killing anyone who stands in the way of him and Jessica, increasing his threat level exponentially.

4 Jessica Escapes The Cabin & Sam Chases After Her In Alone

Chapter 2: “The River”

After Sam hangs up the call with his wife, he puts the knife from his lunch in his pocket and heads toward the basement door. Jessica takes this opportunity to exit the closet and bolt out the front door of the cabin, breaking free from captivity. It doesn’t take Sam long to notice she got away, as he proceeds to chase after her through the wooded surroundings. As she runs barefoot through the forest, Jessica steps on a tree root. In a stomach-churning shot, Jessica is shown pulling the lodged object out of her foot while screaming in pain.

This scene earns points for being the only real instance of graphic body horror in Alone. It’s also particularly panic-inducing because Sam is right on her tail. Jessica doesn’t have time to even wrap the wound after removing the root before she is forced to start running again; between the agony she must be in, the risk of infection and rot, and the speed she’s losing by limping, this moment is stressful in a more longterm sense, creating a different kind of distress than the rest of Alone’s most horrific scenes.

3 Jessica Attacks Sam While He’s Driving The Car In Alone

Chapter 5: “The Clearing”

Alone (2020)

Once he realizes his phone is missing, Sam pumps the brakes on his car while Jessica remains completely still in the trunk. Jessica then takes Sam’s crowbar, lunges at him in the front seat, and starts beating him. Upon the first blow, Sam steps on the gas and tries to drive with one hand while fighting off Jessica with the other. She tries to choke him with the crowbar before grabbing the knife from his pocket and stabbing him in the hand, causing him to crash the car.

Since this moment takes place toward the end, there’s a very real possibility that this could be the end for Jessica. The fact that Sam is driving while this fight goes down also increases the stress levels of this scene. Even if Sam didn’t “win” the fight and kill Jessica himself, the crash could’ve just as easily taken her out for good.

2 Jessica & Sam’s Final Faceoff In Alone

Chapter 5: “The Clearing”

An image of Jessica (Jules Willcox)'s face covered in mud and blood in Alone (2020).

Alone’s ending sees Jessica and Sam engaging in one final faceoff in the mud, with Jessica wielding the crowbar while Sam has the knife. They use their respective weapons to attack each other, and as Sam chokes and punches Jessica, it looks as though he might have finally succeeded in his mission to kill her. However, Jessica ends up defeating Sam by fatally stabbing him in the stomach and watches as he dies.

As the final scene in Alone, the stakes are the highest for Jessica in this moment. Because she’s no longer running from him, she knows only one of them will come out alive this time, giving this moment a lot more weight and creating a lot of anticipation for the outcome. The combination of the mud and intense bloodshed also makes this the grossest and goriest scene in Alone (besides her foot gash, although the gore is more contained then). Ultimately, there is still one other moment in Alone that is more nerve-racking, but this closing scene is still a nail-biter.

It is not until this final scene that Sam’s name is actually revealed in Alone.

1 Jessica Sneaks Into Sam’s Car Alone While He Disposes Of Robert’s Body

Chapter 5: “The Clearing”

Alone (2020)

The absolute scariest and most stressful moment in Alone is when Jessica sneaks into Sam’s car while he’s busy disposing of Robert’s body. Jessica watches as Sam digs a shallow grave and buries the body, waiting for the perfect opportunity to sneak over to his unlocked car and climb into the front seat. She then steals his phone before climbing into the trunk when she sees him returning. As Sam starts the car, Jessica calls 911 on his phone and whispers to the operator that she’s been kidnapped and asks them to trace the call.

Any other time Jessica was in close proximity to Sam in Alone, she could still attempt to run away from him. Not only is she trapped in a moving vehicle in this instance, but unlike the basement situation, he doesn’t even know she’s there. To prevent Robert from noticing she’s in the car, Jessica has to remain completely still and as quiet as possible, while still whispering loud enough for the 911 operator to hear her. As a result, every look of suspicion on his face in this scene is enough to make even the toughest of viewers tense up.


John Hyams

Release Date
September 10, 2020

Mattias Olsson

Jules Willcox , Marc Menchaca , Anthony Heald , Jonathan Rosenthal , Laura Duyn , Nico Floresca

100 minutes

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