Synopsis: Hunter Isth has his life turned upside down when his young daughter is killed by a drunk teenage driver. In mourning, depressed and angry, Hunter disappears and is rumored to have moved away from Braiden Woods. As years go by, Hunter and his devastating story evolve into a myth, a myth that many consider to be just that, until a group of partying teenagers are brutally murdered one by one.
eyelights: its visual style. the soundtrack.
eyesores: its plotlessness. the secondary performances. the unrealistic character dynamics. the boring kills.
Get this: A handful of youth (4 guys and 3 girls) head out of town to camp in a local forest. And party. Once there, they begin to get pecked off one by one by an mysterious psycho killer. In their attempt to escape the lunatic, they stumble into the lion’s den. Things go from bad to worse.
Man… fresh is the taste!
‘Nobody Gets Out Alive’ (or ‘Down the Road’, ‘Punishment’ or ‘Slasher in the Woods’, depending on the source) is a highly-derivative slasher film that is short on imagination just as it leaves very little to the audience’s imagination. It’s essentially a 78-minute exercise in painting by numbers.
The first thing that makes a slasher film stand out from its peers is usually the killer. To make the picture interesting, you usually have to have an enigmatic killer with an iconic style. ‘Halloween‘ has Michael Myers, ‘Friday the 13th‘ has Jason Voorhees, ‘Psycho‘ has Norman Bates.
‘Nobody Gets Out Alive’ has Hunter Isth.
Hunter is a father who saw his hop-skipping daughter get run over by a drunk reveler returning from the woods. After the incident, he disappeared and had been rumoured to stalk the woods, killing any young people foolish enough to venture out there. Turns out that the rumour is true.
From the onset, it’s impossible to believe any of it: the girl is playing on a long stretch of rural road. There’s no one around for miles. And yet the car driver didn’t see her and neither she or the dad heard or saw the car coming. So it’s very hard to believe that she was hit. It felt like a joke.
Then there’s the killer himself: he’s simply not scary at all. He wears untied boots (which means he couldn’t possibly outrun his victims), uses blunt instruments and wears a tool belt. He’s basically a psychotic handyman. With a really long beard. And a bald pate. WTF.
Duck Dynasty Goes Wild!
The guy is supposed to be a demented, revenge-seeking middle-aged man, but he can take out all these kids, including the jocks. He even appears and disappears at will, despite being human. He’ll even show up on the roof of their car without making a sound – while wearing boots.
He also kills the attendants of a local grocery store. We don’t know why; they’re neither youthful, nor in his “beloved” woods. Even during his weepy, blubbering monologue towards the end, we don’t really understand what he’s about, let alone why he randomly killed a couple of clerks.
Thankfully, the actor playing him was relatively watchable. The others weren’t, with everyone overacting simple scenes and monotonous dialogues. The characters weren’t at all credible, even as they fell into the usual horror film clichés. You’d think they’d have been easily believable.
The worst of it is the lead, who is depressed, troubled, whatever, and takes meds, but we have no understanding of what is wrong with her. Then there’s Jarrod, the requisite weirdo, whom everyone looks down on, makes fun of and berates. Why did they even take him along, then?
After an intriguing, iconic killer, the next important part of a slasher film are the kills themselves; they have to be unique, memorable and, hopefully, realistic. Natch on all that here, with the kills not looking real, and being boring as hell since Hunter mostly uses a sledge hammer.
The only somewhat believable kill is when he takes a couple of them to his cabin and proceeds to torture them. Although we are mercifully spared the more grisly aspects of this encounter (ex: the severing of a limb with a saw), at least this appeared realistic enough to keep us involved.
But nothing else in ‘Nobody Gets Out Alive’ had me gripped at any point. I just sat there watching it with such remove that I wasn’t at all interested in any of it. It’s not a bad film, per se, but it’s a wholly redundant one. I’ve seen this before and I’ve seen is done considerably better.
So… why bother?
Date of viewing: October 20, 2015