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March 14, 2013

Movie Review: Nobody Gets Out Alive (2013, DVD)

Review By: Rob Sibley

I got to start off by saying I really wanted to love this movie. Low budget slasher films are a dime a dozen these days but this one looked different. A return to old school slasher films with plenty of brutal kills. It delivered what the trailer promised but sadly the film got so wrapped up in sticking to the formula of the old school hack & slash that it loses any surprise and is strictly by the books. This is one of those films where the DVD cover art is actually more interesting then the film itself.

The film starts off with a little girl playing hop-scotch in the center of the road. Not the side of the road, not the curb but the very center of the road. Said little girl is hit by a drunk driver and the father of this little girl isn't to happy about it. The father disappears and a local legend begins to form. The legend is the man stalks the woods, hunting down drunken teenagers.

We cut to a young gal who's just getting out of a stint at a mental hospital. For what, were not really sure. Anyhow, the gal's parents pretty much force her onto a camping trip with her asshole friends thinking it will do her good.

I know it sounds like I hated this film but I didn't. There is actually a lot to like about it. Written and directed by first timer Jason Christopher the film gets a lot right. The gore for instance is spot on, brutal and to the point. The acting is above average for a film of this ilk as well.

The only problem is the actors have very little to work with. The characters introduced are your typical stock characters. The alpha male d-bag, the blonde bimbo, the troubled girl and the odd stoner. Only thing missing from the film is the token black dude.

All of the “teenagers” played by actors at least in their late twenties are all pretty annoying. Not the type of people you'd want to spend a camping trip with. The best and funniest of the bunch is Chris Ready as Jared. Think of his character as a slimmer Zach Galifianakis. He steals virtually every scene he's in. In a close second is Matthew Nadu as Danny. He's an asshole by all means of the imagination but a quick witted one.

That's the thing about this film, when it's trying to be funny and clever it actually pulls it off. But when it tries to be scary and suspenseful it drops the ball. The first half an hour or so when were introduced to the characters actually works and is funny. The witty banter back and fourth between some of the cast actually makes up for the fact that they are stereotypes. But when the film kicks into full on hunter and prey mode they become the dumbest characters you could imagine.

I really hate being this harsh on the film but the script simply insulted my intelligence. Every horror cliche is accounted for such as the car that won't star and even the classic no cellphone service. How do they explain that? One of the characters says “Well we are standing in the middle of the woods so it does kinda make sense.” no it doesn't really. Your in the woods of South Jersey, not a concrete bunker. Also for a film that's a throw back to slasher of yesteryear there is surprisingly no nudity.

This picture was actually shot in my neck of the woods, about fifteen minutes from where I live. So I was biased going in. Films shot in South Jersey these days is such a rare thing and it's always a blast (usually) to see Jersey talent at work. Sadly they just dropped the ball here.

Oh... nearly forgot. The killer in the film is a fella by the name of “Hunter Isth”... spooky right? He's actually a rather effective presence for the first half. He's tall, got a big beard and is darkly lit. Sadly any creep factor the maniac may have is lost during a sequence meant to “humanize” him. Before torturing a victim to death he decides to have a pretty much 6 minute 1 sided conversation on why he is the way he is. From that point on he becomes a sad old man with a bald spot who sports a sledge hammer.

As you can tell I didn't enjoy the movie, It had a short running time of 77 minutes. It went by quick enough, the kills are decent enough and even the actors aren’t half bad. It's just that the film is so determined to stick to the old school slasher formula that it's boring because of it. It's the type of film you've seen before hundreds of times. You know who's going to die and at what point and there is nothing besides the gore keeping things interesting enough to really care. You'll also see Clint Howard's name on the box cover, he's the film for about forty seconds.

The 1.78:1 transfer looks well faithful to what I imagine was originally shot. It's not a very pretty looking film, the lighting is pretty lifeless and dull. Being that this was shot on digital with bad lighting means the film has a flat lifeless look especially during daylight scenes. The night shots actually look pretty decent.

The 5.1 track gets the job done, nothing to rave about.

On the extra's front we get a commentary from Jason Christopher and producer Deven Lobascio that is actually more entertaining then the film itself. We also get a nice little making of piece and some outtakes.

This film falls into the category of seen it a thousand of times before. Many have and will certainly like this film more then I did. For my tastes it was just a bit to bland and vanilla. You can certainly do better then this... SKIP IT.

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