Dir. Santiago Menghini
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
An immigrant in search of the American dream who, after being forced to take a room in a boarding house, finds herself in a nightmare she can't escape. As expected, the film is at it's core a by the numbers horror where harbingering vulnerable women for the landlords gratification however it's in the films final act that an ounce of originality is shed. Unfortunately by that point, any investment to how this film ends is long lost in the weeds of mundane horror cliché.
It's a difficult slog to get through but when the film does flare it's originality it really comes out with a bang. Having not red the book by Adam Nevill, it's difficult to note if this is problem with the source material or the adaptation however the film really is one of two halves.
The landlords, both acting and looking like extra's from HOSTEL, hold no area of suspicion but even as the kinder one shows some form of regret and passion to the inneviatable victims, it's insincere and contradictory to his willingness to go along with the murder. There are some genuinely unnerving moments that steer the film into one direction but it never amounts to anything more than a convenience for the doomed entrapment the ending suggests, as a result, while the supernatural spectres that haunt the film are real, their presence is empty which is pretty much how this film feels, full of promise but ultimately nothing
The biggest surprise with NO ONE GETS OUT ALIVE is in it's creature design that is in parts fascinating and highly original which is such a shame that the first 70 minutes avoid any dedication to it. The reason for the films lust for young girls is really a sinister cost for holding onto a beast that somehow keeps one of the brothers alive despite remaining in ill health, like a poor mans genie that has a fraction of a power of the Djinn. The lack of any folklore leading onto this, it's a genuine shock, but also feels like a different film that needs another movie to explain it's being.
There's huge kudos to the creature design that does arrive and as such really is something to behold. The muddle for it's being (it somehow makes one of the brothers better but was ultimately collected by a father who was into the occult) is never explored in the films reluctance to tease it's existence. It's just far too abstract and actually contradicts any rationale to why even the saner brother would go along with this or walk away. The cost to keep the beast happy far outweighs the need to keep his brother from being sick yet it's essentially the plot here.
With a tonal shift that really takes away any possible credit the film could have had, NO ONE GETS OUT ALIVE just feels like a box of horror tropes that wants to provide a surprise but at the expense of an enjoyable journey to get there and like a Sunday drive to Blackpool, you might ask yourself was it really worth it?
There would be something for even hardened fans of horror to enjoy but it's difficult to see the genre revert back to an era where women are simply fodder to entertainment however when the film takes so much darkness and misery that fails to give any growth to it's lead and question marks about what it means to be a final girl, a survivor, a fighter and someone who lives to tell the tale don't quite marry up with the events at play here.
With so much missed opportunity, it's easy to see how a good film could have been made, however that opportunity was wasted and instead there's a film that is savagely cliched with an ending that feels out of place, no matter how well it was executed.