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The Independent Critic

Chynna Walker, Autumn Breaud, Annie Gill
Casey McAdams
91 Mins.

 Movie Review: Hello in Here 
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As Hello in Here opens, you'll likely say to yourself  "This looks familiar." 

Indeed, it does. 

In the film, Kara (Chynna Walker) is a young woman who finds herself increasingly isolated while she reluctantly lives alone amidst a global catastrophe. 

Sounds familiar, eh? 

Hang with it. It's worth it. 

Writer-director Casey McAdams has crafted an insightful and intuitive drama that transcends the notion that this is yet another pandemic-influenced film attempting to find entertainment in something that nearly all of us influenced. In fact, I'd dare say Hello in Here isn't really a pandemic film even though it often feels like one. Hello in Here is as much a meditation on mental health as it is anything about the actual pandemic. In fact, our "global catastrophe" is never really named even if it does look awfully familiar. Instead, Hello in Here finds its power in exploring the need for human connection and the possibility that our reliance on technology, which seemingly enables greater connection, actually fails miserably. 

Kara is played quite magnificently by Chynna Walker with a tonal arc that is subtle yet rather glorious to watch unfold. Over time, Kara begins to lose her grip on reality with occasional phone calls to her family, various businesses, and her remote work failing to intervene in an obviously decompensating heart and mind. With hints of Alice in Wonderland, Kara's screens become looking glasses and her phone a rabbit hole. There's a paranoia that mounts itself on her psyche, insomnia and anxiety taking hold and her ability to differentiate between real and fantasy suddenly muddied. Walker pulls this all off so wonderfully, transforming from a self-assured and confident professional seemingly connected to the world around her to a disconnected and more vulnerable soul unsure of the world in which she lives. 

The connection that Kara has always felt frays, still preesnt but somehow inadequate to address her growing needs and increasing isolation. How does she deal with it all? How do we all deal with it? 

Hello in Here is for the most part a one-woman show. We get brief moments with other people and we get voices on the other line or on the computer screen, however, a good majority of our time is spent watching Kara's world show signs of crumbling. 

While this could have been unwatchable, it's remarkably watchable thanks to Walker's tremendous performance and dialogue by McAdams that feels honest and compelling. We never stop caring about Kara and we never stop being drawn into her world. 

There's so much that works with Hello in Here that it's almost jarring. Jeremy Jacoby's lensing for the film is perfectly in sync with Kara's emotional rhythms. Wisely, the camera never becomes another character but instead immerses us inside Kara's world and offers a transformative view as Kara's world increasingly changes. It's subtle, beautiful work that amplifies the film's storytelling. 

The apartment in which Kara lives is another wonderful choice. It's a warm, welcoming home that feels comfortable when it's functioning as a home and not, in essence, a prison. The colors are inviting and the entire aura feels comfortable. Yet, amidst this extended period of staying inside it everything becomes more muted and nearly suffocating. The sound design, created by Alex Jennings and Chad Mellendick, is impressively utilized in creating that sense of isolation bordering on delirium.

There's simply not a false choice made here. 

Shot over 15 daysin Maryland, West Virginia, Washington D.C., and Virginia, Hello in Here was made with a small crew of six people approaching filming in a documentary style. Cast and crew reportedly all lived together during filming. It's impressive indie filmmaking that tells what feels like a familiar story yet tells it in a unique, well-informed, and inspired way. 

Currently available on Amazon's Prime Video, Hello in Here is definitely an indie project worth checking out. 

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic