Nobody Gets Out Alive – spoiler alert? Nah, I’ll throw all of you off Jason Christopher’s scent and suggest there’s much more going on, but the question is do you believe me? I don’t know, or do I? Am I totally in your head right now, mindf#cking you P. Diddy style from Get Him To The Greek? What movie am I even reviewing right now? Am I just wasting word count to wrap this thing up quicker?
No, because there’s something to be said about young Jason Christopher’s big-screen directorial/screenwriting debut, but unfortunately it’s nothing all too profound. Christopher undoubtedly displays his love for horror, a fantastic respect for the slasher films of old we yearn for, a love of practical effects, and en eye for entertainment – but his writing is still years away from maturation. Nobody Gets Out Alive is independent to the (broken) bone, showing inexperience on both the acting and production sides, but note how I’m not using these statements in a negative connotation, because at times the painstakingly obvious low-budget actually worked towards Christopher’s advantage, making him look too cool for film school instead of living with unattainable dreams of Hollywood fame.
But we have to stay a bit realistic here and say this is some obviously novice horror writing. It’s like Wrong Turn meets every other horror movie that ever took place in the woods, as Christopher creates his own slasher killer named Hunter Isth. His backstory? One night after some of the local hooligans party irresponsibly in the woods, two drunk kids decide it would be a good idea to drive home inebriated. Meanwhile, Hunter is chopping wood while his daughter Angela plays hopscotch in the road (um, good parenting?), having no idea a drunk driver is headed directly down his road. Guess what happens next? Hunter’s daughter is killed by the party goers, Hunter vanishes, kids start disappearing in the woods, and the legend of a vengeful Hunter Isth is spawned.
Blech. I know. Like I said, there is absolutely nothing revolutionary while discussing the story, and the same goes for our actors. A lot of the more positive quotes circling the film rave how Nobody Gets Out Alive is a throwback horror film which is more like a love letter to the 70s and 80s slasher genre, and I can’t argue that much because some of the duller moments on screen are a little hard to watch. A few characters have trouble fluidly delivering lines, stuttering through bouts of yelling, while others either oversell or underact whatever scenario their character is in – but it all feels generally unnatural. Expect every bit of the campiness which made low B-Movie horror so definitive, because the quality is pretty on par as well, and not in a good way.
Why are you watching Nobody Gets Out Alive though – to find the next big actor in horror? If you answered yes, you’re probably one of the actors involved in Christopher’s nightmare camping trip, and to you I say “Better luck next year kiddo!” To the rest of us viewers that understand B-Movie horror though, I’ll admit I was impressed with the level of practical effects and Christopher’s eye for gore, letting me know our director definitely passed his grindhouse appreciation test. Sure, his story is weak, and his actors just seem like a group of friends showing up for their desperate buddy’s student film, but when it came to kills, Christopher wasn’t just playing around with some ketchup packets and convenient camera angles. Nah, Hunter was actually a pretty brutal murderer, walking around like an evil Tim “The Toolman” Taylor, just hammering bitches to death – with hammers, like the blunt tool (just wanted to clarify). Oh, and most of the effects were practical, which is a bloody must when shooting for this type of disgusting entertainment.
Now I know I said that acting left much to be desired, but I’m going to go back on my word super quick and admit Brian Gallagher grabbed my interest as Hunter Isth sporadically. There’s a pretty clichéd scene where he exposes how dead he is inside and how killing apparently helps that, and while this is all pretty standard horror villain talk, a few moments where he glares at the camera or spins his head another direction really had me believing in Gallagher’s psychopathic nature. But then he fights the lone “survivor girl,” she turns the tables on him, and it’s all downhill from there.
I want to say Nobody Gets Out Alive is impressive enough when it comes to what really matters in these types horror movies where audiences can ignore the relatively distracting low-budget elements, but far too much is stereotypically what you’d expect from a first time production. It’s not quirky enough to be “so bad it’s good,” it’s not unique enough to be enjoyably inventive, nor is it acted well enough to pile vibrant characteristics over all the garbage. It does, however, come off as a pretty stellar trial run for director Jason Christopher though, because with a more solid story and a little more genre know-how, all of a sudden those gnarly kills are part of a much tighter production – one that warrants a viewing based on ALL pieces. Maybe the inevitable sequel will be that next big step for Christopher?