Nobody Gets Out Alive Review

By Sean Brickley

Ok, first things first. I generally watch the trailers for other movies when I get any new DVD. I did the same thing when I sat down to watch Nobody Gets Out Alive. I have to say that if the other movies I watched trailers for are on the same level as Nobody Gets Out Alive, I’d be interested in seeing them as well. Additionally, it isn’t surprising that Image Entertainment is not only the distributor of the main feature but the trailers as well. Image Entertainment also has distribution rights to a slew of other good things, including: Chillerama, Bad Taste, Pee-wee’s Playhouse and the original Twilight Zone television series. Therefore it wasn’t that hard for me to understand why Nobody Gets Out Alive got picked up for distribution by Image. Alright, enough of that, on to the movie:

The year is 2000. The month: November. We see a bunch of clips of teenaged kids doing what groups of teenaged kids tend to do best. No, it’s not studying. They’re not discussing the political geography of the country. They’re partying. And party they do until the sun comes up.

Hunter Isth is outside cutting wood with his daughter Angela playing nearby. This scene is interspersed with imagery of the teens driving their vehicle in what appears to be a more than moderately inebriated state. You all know what’s about to happen but it still doesn’t lessen the severity of the resulting thud as Angela’s frail body is run down. This is followed by a somewhat dramatic montage of an overweight cop and EMS showing up, a news report of the story, and images of the bloodied car.

Skip to the present day. We’re in a hospital and hey, who’s that doctor? Clint Howard. Yes, Opie’s brother in a stunningly small role despite having billing on the cover of the movie and his picture on the back. Whatever, it’s Slinky from Tango & Cash! Anyway, Dr. Howard is explaining to a patient’s mother about how her daughter deals with her depression and that she shouldn’t be given too much to do once she leaves.

This segues into a dinner consisting of the former hospital patient, Jenn, and her parents. Her parents are afraid that she will become agoraphobic (and this fear is expressed in the stereotypical not-quite-fully-educated parental fashion prominent in these types of movies). Jenn agrees with them and decides that a camping trip at Braiden Woods might be best. Later Jenn calls a friend to discuss the plan, but her friend cautions her that that is the same area where a little girl was killed and therefore has a pretty bad reputation. Nonetheless, the camping trip is on.

If you’ve watched pretty much anything that Bam Margera has had a hand in, at some point you’ve heard that CKY song – and you know exactly what song I’m talking about. Its generic riffs unfortunately stay ingrained in your skull hours after being subjected to it. In any case, that song is the background soundtrack to the following scene in which we are introduced to the male counterparts to our female camping party. The guys kind of give off a douche bag appeal, but the way they give each other shit is definitely genuine. I only mention the CKY song to show that there was an alright budget put into this movie. This is also prevalent in the movie’s makeup and effects, although I will admit that there were some instances where a character or bit of gore made me giggle and say, “Come on…”, but not in an unappreciative manner. It was fun, not dumb.

The typical slasher movie buildup progresses from here: the girls discussing the camping trip, the guys being dicks to their slightly alienated friend, Jared, who is also coming along, one of the girls bidding her daughter farewell, the two parties meeting up, and off they go. Along the way, they stop off to pick up some beer (Yuengling by the way – I like Yuengling), but unbeknownst to them is the fact that the liquor store owners have just been savagely murdered by a sledgehammer-wielding maniac . Outside of the liquor store Jared approaches some locals about where he might be able to come into some contraband. The locals take offense to this and a fight almost ensues, but is settled by the rest of the camping party before anything bad happens although they give Jared his fair ration of shit over the entire affair.

As they approach their destination they are accosted by another local who tells them it is best if they just stay out of the woods. Personally I’m not big on camping, especially some distance from the comforts of home and civilization so I wouldn’t have been anywhere near this expedition with these friends (I would have wished them a safe bon voyage and hung out at home in sweatpants). That being said, if I were in the inescapable position of being on a camping trip, had some local made the effort to dissuade us from going any further I would have most likely wanted to heed that warning and just go get a motel room. This is why my life is too boring to be a horror movie. Jenn and company basically tell this guy where he can go and carry on their merry way.

They finally get to their camping ground and while Jared is still stewing over the entire incident at the liquor store and his subsequent verbal abuse at the hands of the rest of the party, everyone else decides it’s time to party. Scantily clad (but not overly gratuitous) swimming ensues. Later that night, while telling some ghost stories, Deron tells the story about Hunter Isth and how he hasn’t been seen since his daughter was run down by drunken teenagers years before. They hear noises in the woods but it turns out to be the same locals from the liquor store and lo and behold – they actually have some marijuana. Everyone has a good time before eventually turning in once the locals leave for a party. That is, everyone except for Jared. While Deron and Jenn are cuddling in a tent Jared is outside getting slashed all to hell.

 The film is a fun throwback to a more simple era of slasher movie. A modern twist is thrown at some classic elements: a trip to the woods, young people disrespecting their elders, drugs and alcohol, frivolity and of course some blood and gore. The acting is above par and the characters are relatively believable albeit slightly cheesy sometimes. Let’s face it though – most people are cheesy most of the time.

For an indie movie, this one does a good job of breaking the mold of a non-Hollywood budget film. I thought it was a fun and gory little romp through the woods. I’d definitely be interested in seeing the creative team behind Nobody Gets Out Alive spawn a sequel, or even branch out to test the waters in other horror genres.

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