I’m a little bit late out the gate, but here we are! Made-for-TV March is back, baby!
And what better way to begin the month than with the star-studded soapy drama: Death at Love House.
In the starring roles are TV icons Robert Wagner and Kate Jackson. They play young couple Joel and Donna Gregory, visiting Hollywood to write a book on an actress who had a love affair with Joel’s father. The actress, Lorna Love (played by Marianna Hill of Messiah of Evil), supposedly died young. Her body is preserved in a tomb/shrine in her backyard.
When the couple arrives, they meet agent Oscar and housekeeper Clara. They’re shown around Lorna’s house when they see a portrait of her. They both are pulled to it, but Joel much more so.
Their first day, Donna sees a woman in 1930s clothing in the garden. When she tries to find the woman, no one is to be found.
The couple meets with several people: a director who worked with Lorna, a former rival of hers, and the leader of her fan club. Joel and Donna begin to unpick the mysteries of Lorna’s life, soon discovering she was into the occult with hopes of staying young forever.
In the home is a hooded figure. The figure targets the director, killing him. The figure also tries to kill Donna by carbon monoxide poisoning.
While Donna becomes increasingly upset with living in the home, Joel becomes more and more obsessed. When things come to a head and she realises the truth of Lorna Love’s fate, Donna must race to save her husband or lose him to the house and Lorna forever.
This is a pretty weird one. On one hand, it’s got everything I love in a TV movie: a big beautiful home that’s a bit haunted, an unseen figure messing with people, a Sunset Boulevard rip-off plot. The calibre of the supporting cast here is just incredible (Sylvia Sidney is here along with a slew of old Hollywood icons). They easily outshine the two leads.
And yet…it’s pretty forgettable as far as TV movies go. It plots along most of the time. Loads of dialogue about Lorna Love that isn’t terribly interesting.
That being said… I LOVE the twist ending. It’s so soap opera-y. So dramatic and, technically, a bit stupid. This is what I demand of my TV movies. Give me all of the drama!
Single-location movies rule. Especially when that location is a bit out of the ordinary: a ski lift, a haunted morgue, elevators! It forces everyone involved to get a bit creative. No convenient detectives here to explain the finer details. No meeting with a priest at the church. We’re all on our own.
In the past couple weeks I watched Michael Soavi’s Stage Fright (Deliria) and Giuseppe Bennati’s giallo The Killer Reserved Nine Seats (L’assassino ha riservato nove poltrone). Both good films with the basic premise that a bunch of Italians are locked in a theatre with a killer. This is exactly my type of thing. So to celebrate: a mini list of some of my favourite single-location horror films.
I ruled out the general location of “house”. As haunted houses would open up a whole can of worms, and definitely need a list of their own. Also, it’s just too basic! Instead, these locations are all familiar to most people, but may not be places we visit every day.
While writing this list, I had to force myself to stop. But I’d also throw classics like Train to Busan and The Thing onto the list as well! This might just become my new Thing.
Dawn of the Dead (1978) dir. by George A. Romero Location: shopping mall
A class for a reason. Over forty years on, Romero’s masterpiece remains politically relevant. Sure, technically the opening bit doesn’t take place in our shopping mall. But once we’re there, the story really gets going.
When a plague causes the dead to rise from their graves, a group of survivors lock themselves up in a shopping mall. Where else would any good consumerist American go? All is well while the world collapses around them, until one day everything changes for them.
“When there’s no more room in hell, the dead will walk at the shopping mall.”
Intruder (1989) dir. by Scott Spiegel Location: supermarket
Written and directed by one of the Michigan Evil Dead crew, Scott Spiegel, this is a slasher with lots of imagination.
During the closing time of a supermarket, employees are picked off one-by-one. But who is doing the killer? A vindictive ex? A total unknown maniac? The standard slasher formula is given plenty of inventive twists with lots of iconic death scenes.
Chopping Mall (1986) dir. by Jim Wynorski Location: shopping mall
On the opposite side of the shopping mall spectrum from Dawn of the Dead is the delightfully strange Chopping Mall.
A group of teens stay late at a mall one night to party. Unbeknownst to them, the mall’s security robots have gone rogue, and they’re out for blood! It’s bananas and utterly 80s in every way possible. A true delight.
Popcorn (1991) dir. by Mark Herrier Location: cinema
During an all-night movie marathon at a local theatre, a group of film students are terrorised by a disguised killer. The deaths here, like in Intruder, are incredibly inventive. This movie is the product of 80s slashers and William Castle gimmicks.
The Last Matinee (Al morir la matinée) (2020) dir. by Maximiliano Contenti Location: cinema
Another cinema slasher, but this one is very giallo-inspired. On a rainy night, a man in black arrives at a cinema, but he isn’t there to watch the movie. A young student and cinema-worker must save herself when she discovers a series of brutal killings have taken place on her watch.
Speaking of Italy…
Demons (Dèmoni) dir. by Lamberto Bava Location: cinema
Sorry for the cinema-set overload, but this setting is ripe for good storytelling. Of the three, this Italian slasher goes into the supernatural realm. At the screening of a new horror film, a woman cuts her hand on a demonic mask. Thus a demonic outbreak begins.
This wasn’t Baby Bava’s first time directing, but it’s possibly his best-known film and for a good reason. The demons look incredible, the people act incredibly stupid, and the gore arrives by the bucket full. Its sequel, Demons 2, also takes place in one primary location, a block of flats, but it just isn’t as good. No motorcycle riding through an auditorium!
Terror Train (1980) dir. by Roger Spottiswoode Location: train
This movie’s plot is a bit hard to sell: So Jamie Lee Curtis is on a train with former classmates and David Copperfield is there performing magic. Who am I kidding? It’s not hard to sell at all. This movie is odd in all the right ways.
JLC is great in this, like she is in every slasher she graces her presence with. But in addition to good actors, we get a creepy-looking killer in a Groucho Marx mask. It’s up there with best Canadian slasher mask of the 80s along with Curtains‘ granny.
Slaughter High (1986) dir. by George Dugdale, Mark Ezra, Peter Litten Location: high school
There are a lot of slasher movies that take place in high schools: Student Bodies, The Faculty, Return to Horror High, and Graduation Day but this one still sticks with me.
A group of friends return to their old school for a class reunion. When they arrive, however, they learn they are the only ones to have been invited. They’re all linked by one thing: a prank gone wrong years earlier.
Like Terror Train, we have a killer in an excellent get-up: a jester’s hat and a mask of an old man.
The setting is wonderfully desolate. Scenes are still etched in my mind, and it’s been years since I last watched it.
Night of the Demons (1988) dir. by Kevin S. Tenney Location: funeral parlour
Considering how much death we see in horror movies, very few of them involve a funeral home. Sure we have a couple with scenes in cemeteries or mausoleums, but not very many that have a crematorium.
Like most movies on this list, apparently, the story revolves around a group of friends doing something stupid. On Halloween night, this gang decide to party in an abandoned mortuary. When one of them holds a seance, they are in for a lot more than anticipated.
Found footage as a subgenre gets a lot of hate…and rightfully so. I adore it, and there are a lot of classics that fall under this umbrella. But for every Lake Mungo and Rec there are 800 Lost Vlog of Ruby Real.
I get it. It’s a style of filmmaking that can be done on a budget, so that makes it appeal to a lot of young filmmakers for that very reason (our pal Kane Parsons got a feature-length version of his short greenlit this week). But while seemingly easy and accessible on the surface, making a good and convincing found-footage story is really hard!
In this not-quite-feature-length feature, a group of vloggers get together to make a video. At the heart of it is Ruby Real. She’s working to prove different myths as just that. The one that has recently taken her interest is “The Tree Game”. According to the myth, if someone walks around this tree, they end up in a different dimension.
Great set-up. Got me sold. But the trio arrive at the tree pretty quickly and with only a mild “we’re lost!” subplot that immediately gets resolved. The three walk around the tree and seemingly nothing has changed. Only it has. Apparently. There’s nothing really for the audience to see or understand that they are in a different dimension. They just keep walking down this nice path and saying, “We’re going in circles!” Now, that doesn’t say different dimension to me. That just says kids these days need to learn how to use maps and compasses.
Of course a lot of this will sound exactly like another very familiar plot. The Blair Witch Project changed found-footage movies forever. But its success has made a lot of storytellers a bit lazy. Not every found-footage movie needs to hit the same beats: we’re in the woods, creepy objects are found in the woods, we’re lost, we panic.
Eventually, Cali (another one of the vloggers) walks around the tree and vanishes. It’s obvious from the get-go that she’s gone around the other way, and YET – this stumps the last two creators FOR AGES! I spotted it right away and my brain had been checked out for ages at that point.
And yet, we still keep spiralling and end up with a rather baffling ending. It’s a bit otherworldly (finally), but with so little of that throughout the film it just doesn’t make any sense. There weren’t very many hints that they were in another world. Show people going backwards! Little things the vloggers left behind that are not “quite right”. Get creative with no budget!
There is definitely a seed of a good idea here. I think if developed more, it might be something more. But creative lore doesn’t necessarily make things interesting to watch.
I rarely get this annoyed by films (I usually allow myself to turn off something I don’t like), but I just wasn’t having it this week. It probably didn’t help that Plex’s constant barrage of ads made me want to pull my hair out. Nothing makes a slow movie feel slower like having to watch the same moneylending ad four times in a row.
Occasionally I like breaking free of the feature-length shackles to watch something that can pack a punch in just a few short minutes. I did a mini short-film marathon the other night and happened to see a link between the three: all of them manage to create a very unsettling feeling by not doing much at all.
Other Side of the Box (2018) dir. by Caleb J. Phillips
So…what’s in the basket box?
Couple Rachel and Ben are enjoying a night in before Christmas when an unwelcome visitor arrives. Their not-quite-friend Shawn is invited in, and he gives a wrapped gift to Ben. Not wanting to be rude, Ben accepts the gift but is told not to read the card until after opening the box. Shawn skedaddles quickly after he’s sure the box has been opened.
In a similar vein to It Follows, Ben and Rachel realise that they’ve been saddled with a curse. The curse? A creepy man peering at them from over the side of the box. Shawn’s card warns them not to look away from the man at any point.
The man is a very simple visual, but it really made my skin crawl. No offence to the actor playing him, of course! It’s the hidden face and unblinking eyes that really set me on edge. Something about a Peeping Tom really unsettles me.
The Backrooms (Found Footage) (2022) dir. by Kane Parsons
Kids these days… I’m glad they’ll be running things when I’m old because these little ones know what they’re doing. They’re more competent than I’ve ever been!
Director Parsons was only 16 when he made this short. This is an impressive film without that fact, but it’s definitely worth noting because this kid accomplished a lot (with presumably little other than a phone and a computer programme…yes I’m aware of how old that makes me sound).
The Backrooms is a relatively new urban legend that is about an endless maze of empty rooms and liminal spaces. A person can find themselves in the Backrooms by accident and it’s never known how to escape. It’s all seemingly random, which adds to the uncomfortable atmosphere.
In The Backrooms (Found Footage) a cameraman is making a movie when he noclips into an empty office with an abandoned 1980s style. He wanders for ages trying to find a way out when he soon realises he isn’t alone.
This would have been my literal nightmare as a kid. What Parsons managed to do is incredible. He sets feels genuinely isolated and sad. A lot like my real office, come to think of it…
Atman (1975) dir. by Toshio Matsumoto
The final film of the evening was Atman by experimental director Toshio Matsumoto. It’s not strictly a horror short, but for some reason, there’s a sense of dread that permeates throughout.
A person in a hannya (a Japanese demon representing jealousy) mask sits in a chair while the camera revolves around them. The images are presented in a frame-by-frame manner, slowing speeding up while zooming in and out.
As the shots get faster, the shrill sounds become more and more intense. There’s really nothing else “happening”, but I do know that I would never like to be in this world or come across this person anywhere, let alone the seemingly isolated countryside where it was filmed.
Last Sunday, my friend and I went to the cinema to watch Skinamarink. Lately, I’ve really enjoyed going to movies without any knowledge or expectation of them. There were two things I knew about this movie going into it: it’s an indie horror, and people can’t stop talking about it.
And wow. I’m glad I went into this with zero expectations because I would have never in a million years expected what I saw.
Skinamarink takes an experimental approach. For all but one shot, we barely see the characters’ faces. Instead, the viewer is subjected to long shots of the interior of a house where things keep disappearing. We mostly follow a pair of siblings as they navigate the horrors unfolding in their home.
The long shots without any action are definitely going to test most audiences. In an era where things are so fast-paced, it’s definitely an adjustment to just sit and breathe with the image.
At times the movie’s stillness becomes almost unbearable, but it’s clearly intentional. The sense of dread that director Kyle Edward Ball creates feels massive. There are a couple of jump scares that gave me genuine chills, but it’s the lack of things happening that can feel the eeriest.
This is probably the only film where I saw people walk out. One man left pretty early. One woman got up in a huff and angrily pushed through her row to exit with about 45 minutes to go. It definitely was making people react.
When the house lights went up, a few vocal audience members had a lot to say about why the movie was a waste of time. I’m not even sure how my friend felt about it. But I felt like I had experienced something that I’d never forget. Did I like it? Well…not sure if I was meant to enjoy it.
Sure. I had no idea what was going on most of the time. I couldn’t explain most of what was happening. All of that, though, added to the nightmarish feel. It was exactly like when you are having a bad dream that you can’t wake up from (in a good way mind, though I’m sure some people will take it both ways!).
When I saw the notice that the PCC had extended its showings, my gut immediately told me I needed to see it again. Proof that it clearly left its mark.
Going out and supporting unusual horror projects is so important. Not everything will be our cup of tea, but horror needs to exist in all its forms and push us beyond our limits. No other genre can do the same thing.
Happy 2023! Always a shock to the system when you realise you’re already this many days into the new year and have done nothing, let alone attempted to make yourself “better” in any way.
Let me tell you, the brain has been like sludge. After a long visit back to the States over Christmas, I have lost most of my ambition of watching movies. And most of them that I have seen are comedies and not horror. My heart isn’t in it!
But I knew it was time to get my ass in gear and start writing again. If watching comedy felt easier than horror, why not try a horror comedy. The comedy should make the pill easier to swallow, right?
Well. Let’s just say that wasn’t the case. Comedy must be one of the most difficult genres to write. What one person finds funny might be really unfunny to someone else. Unfortunately for me, Full Moon High was 0% funny to me, but instead it felt like a painful journey that just wouldn’t end.
This 80s horror comedy was written and directed by the iconic Larry Cohen. This is a funny guy. I’m really not sure why this one didn’t work for me.
In the 1950s (or what only half-heartedly attempts to be the 50s), football star Tony Walker is dragged to Romania by his father. This isn’t Tony’s idea of a great time, especially as the trip means that he will miss the Big Game. While his dad has a great time with his lady friends, Tony is forced to wander Romania by himself.
One night, Tony is dining alone when a woman offers to read his palm. She tells him that he will live forever and has the pentagram, a sign of the werewolf, on him. He gets lost on his way back home when he is attacked by a werewolf and becomes one himself.
Tony is now cursed to live forever in his high school body. After his dad’s accidental death back in America, Tony decides to leave Full Moon. He travels the world on his own for decades, terrorising people wherever he does.
When he returns to Full Moon High in the 80s, he finds it in much worse shape than before. The football team, for one, is atrocious. He quickly gains the attention of three women: his former high school sweetheart, his teacher and the class hottie. (Though the classmate and teacher looked so similar, I thought they were the same character for most of this movie…)
Tony believes that his only way of breaking his curse is by scoring a touchdown in the Big Game. Unfortunately for him, Full Moon High’s football team stinks. He still gets the touchdown, is shot, lives, and remains a werewolf.
There’s more to it like a transformation video he makes with his classmate that everyone thinks is a porno. Umm…a hijacking? I don’t know. It tires me out just thinking about it all again.
Thankfully, lead actor Adam Arkin is pretty good in this. He’s charismatic enough to help you understand why everyone is so attracted to him. His father even makes an appearance as a psychiatrist. I would have enjoyed Alan’s part more if I understood why the hell he was there.
I really wish the movie had done more in the way of plot or even scene setting. Make the 50s BIG. Make Tony’s adjustment to the changing world more apparent. Write some plot! I don’t know! Anything! Help!
Full Moon High didn’t get one single laugh from me. But I think even if it does manage to make you laugh, there isn’t much here that will be worth remembering the next day.
4. Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul. dir. by Adamma Ebo
3. RRR (Rise Roar Revolt) dir. by S.S. Rajamouli
2. Everything Everywhere All at Once dir. by the Daniels
1. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery dir. by Rian Johnson
Honourable mention: Rosaline dir. by Karen Maine. A sucker for a historically incorrect rom com. Bullet Train dir. by David Leitch because I have no taste in action films.
Favourite new-to-me horror (non-2022 releases)
5. The Night House (2020) dir. by David Bruckner
4. The Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch (1968) dir. by Noriaki Yuasa
3. The Queen of Black Magic (1981) dir. by Lilik Sudjio
2. Messiah of Evil (1973) dir. by Willard Huyck, Gloria Katz
1. Pulse (2001) dir. by Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Favourite new-to-me movies (non-2022 releases)
5. Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982) dir. by Robert Altman
4. In the Mood for Love (2000) dir. by Wong Kar-wai
3. Mannequin (1987) dir. by Michael Gottlieb
2. Perfect Blue (1997) dir. by Satoshi Kon
(Arguably, this one is horror, but I’m being sneaky here.)
1. Mother (2009) dir. by Bong Joon-ho
Favourite show: Minx (HBO – USA/Paramount – UK)
Things I regret most missing out on: The Woman King, watching Nope in a theatre where half the crowd wasn’t FaceTiming, The Menu, seeing Whatever Happened to Baby Jane on the big screen because the Prince Charles Cinema got an Italian print by accident.
Best theatre experience: Seeing Perfect Blue at the PCC. The crowd was stunned and in utter silence the entire time only to erupt as the credits rolled. Good kids, all of them.
Favourite books: The Babysitter Lives by Stephen Graham Jones and The Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher
I’m obligated to say this: I can’t believe that another year has come and gone. 2022 was bananas, but a very good year. It was one that was filled to the brim with cinema visits. I watched 313 movies this year (so far – I still have time!) and many of them were new favourites. But a bit more on that next week…
This year, more than usual, I really tried to watch as many 2022 horror releases as I could. I missed some due to UK release dates being different (Pearl) or just being too busy to catch it (The Menu). That being said, I saw a lot of excellent horror movies this year. From legacy films (I loved Halloween Ends, so what of it?) to wholly original ideas like A Wounded Fawn and Nope – it was a really, really good year for fans of the genre.
It was pretty tough to narrow down to five. A top ten could have been done if I wasn’t so lazy. Interestingly (or not) my top films aren’t the ones I rated most highly on Letterboxd. The impression the film left on me was more valuable than the overall quality, I think.
So here it is. My top five horror movies released in 2022:
5. Terrifier 2 dir. by Damien Leone
I’ll admit, I never really cared to see Terrifier because I just hated All Hallows’ Eve. I also really hate clowns. A lot.
But when I heard all the hoopla happening in the US, I listened. An indie on an impossibly small budget grossing over $12 million? More of this, please.
When it finally made its way over the ocean, my friend and I literally took a day off work to see it at the Prince Charles Cinema. It was an event that made me feel like I was part of a modern day urban legend, similar to the stories told of The Exorcist.
Sure. The movie is a bit too long. It’s a bit gross and not really my jam. But I still think about it all the time. My friend (whom I’ve seen multiple horror films with this year) says it has stuck with him as well. You just have to celebrate a moment like this.
4. Saloum dir. by Jean Luc Herbulot
I have to admit, I’ve not see many African movies, let alone horror movies. I know that people adore Nollywood and there’s a can-do attitude for many of the countries’ film industries. But beyond that… nada.
Watching Saloum was a unique experience. Drawing on Senegalese folklore and the 2003 coup in Guinea-Bassau, the story is a blend of fantasy and very real horrors.
The three main actors playing the mercenaries made me feel so deeply connect to them, that I mourned their struggles even despite their flaws.
The movie made me desperate to seek out horror from African countries. It’s definitely a goal for 2023.
3. Deadstream dir. by Joseph Winter, Vanessa Winter
On the complete opposite of the spectrum is this horror comedy, Deadstream. It’s a hilarious found-footage movie that somehow made the tired genre feel fresh – a remarkable feat considering Host achieved something similar only two years ago.
This movie is bananas in all the right ways. I’ve seen lots of comparisons to Evil Dead 2, which are valid but also undersells how unique the movie is.
Deadstream will definitely be something that I will continue to rewatch and recommend to anyone who loves horror comedies with plenty of scares.
2. Prey dir. by Dan Trachtenberg
I have a terrible admission to make: the only Predator movie I’ve seen is Predators, which I saw because I think Adrien Brody is hot. Sorry, not sorry?
My reasons for wanting to see Prey had nothing to do with its relation to the others in the franchise. It was the cast and historical setting that caught my attention.
My expectations were high after hearing the synopsis. The expectations were blown out of the water when I watched this fantastic, succinct action film. Amber Midthunder is an excellent and compelling lead as Naru. As is Coco the dog as Sarii. Dog actors forever!
I might not be able to comment on the film’s place in the franchise, but I can say it’s one that successfully stands on its own.
1. Barbarian dir. by Zach Cregger
When I sat down to see Barbarian at FrightFest, I had already heard comparisons to Malignant, a movie I was obsessed with last year. But what could possibly live up to that bonkers movie? Well, it turns out this one can.
It might have been out for a few months now, but I think it’s best to go into this one as unaware of the plot as possible. I rarely feel surprised by the turns movies take, but this one threw me so many curveballs, I was just constantly whispering, “the fuck??” to myself.
The story is definitely the highlight here, but shoutout to a fantastic cast. Justin Long plays the ultimate d-bag.
This was a fantastic year for movies. I’d also have to say I adored Scream, Nope, Halloween Ends, A Wounded Fawn, Significant Other, and Wendell & Wild. These would probably round out my top 10.
And shout to services like Hulu, Shudder and Screambox for bringing these movies to people’s screens. But more theatrical releases too, please. Thinking of what could have been with Prey…
This week’s plan was to watch and write about I Trapped the Devil. But man…sometimes you have nothing to say about something. With no back-up film having been watched, I’m sitting here before the holidays (stressed) with a bunch of notes on a movie I’ve already mostly forgotten.
I Trapped theDevil is a nice enough film. It’s got that nice green-and-red glow that Christmas horror movies should have. It’s also a short film wearing a feature-length’s clothes.
Matt and his wife, Karen, visit Matt’s brother Steve for Christmas. It’s a nice gesture, right? But it’s unannounced and two years after the death of Steve’s daughter and wife. Nice brother. Anyway, Steve’s nuts and thinks he has trapped THE LITERAL SATAN in his basement. Has he? Hasn’t he? Let the question linger the entire film!
There are no reveals in this movie, which I think makes it a bit one-note. If we gathered information about Steve and his descent throughout the film, I might have been more intrigued. But you know what’s going on pretty early. Then just sit with it until the story decides to wrap up.
Safe to say. It’s not going to make my list of favourite Christmas movies.
Can a film make it on atmosphere and ~vibes~ alone? Yes. I recently watched the excellent A Wounded Fawn directed by Travis Stevens. Not a clue what was going on, but it looked amazing. If you’re going to rely on pretty, make sure it’s got something worth paying attention to. Christmas lights can hold my attention for a long while, but probably not 80-some minutes.
Speaking of lists… I made one back in 2016, and I thought it might be time for a refresh. Having looked at it again, I can say it’s a basic bitch list. After all these years, though, it still is probably what I’d produce today. Bar Elves. Not sure what I was on then. Did I really like this film? I can tell you nothing about it.
I always find this time leading up to Christmas to be one that is stressful. Who has time to do any serious, critical thinking? Not I! Is this why so many websites produce lists? I’m going to produce lists. Look forward to those lists. Your girl is tired these days.
Book adaptions are tough. As an audience, it doesn’t matter how often we tell ourselves the two mediums are different: some bias will always remain. Oh and most of the audience doesn’t care about how stories have to be told differently on page and screen. That’s probably ass, too.
I tried to reserve judgement when watching an adaptation of a book I like. It doesn’t always work. But what about an adaptation of a book you perhaps didn’t like.
No Exit was a book I tried reading in early 2021. It had everything I love: a locked-room mystery, a snowy local… But the book just didn’t work for me. There was a point about halfway through the book that I gave up, flipped through the rest of the book and learned the ending. I know, I know. I’m the worst kind of human.
When I saw there was a (rather quietly released) film adaptation out, I was still intrigued. Even more, I had friends recommend it to me.
But in faithful adaptions, this one was a little too faithful for me. Because it was at the same point in the book and film that I checked out.
Darby is an addict in rehab. When she gets the call that her mother has had an aneurysm, she breaks out and steals a car. On her way to the hospital in Salt Lake City, a storm strands her in the mountains.
A police officer directs her to stay at a visitors’ center, where a group of people are waiting out the storm. There she finds two young men and a couple. Things seem boring and mundane until Darby goes out to try and get a phone signal. While roaming in the storm, she hears the screams of a girl. She finds the child in the back of the van and must free the girl.
The reveal of “who” kidnapped the girl arrives very early. The film is very good at building suspense, but it’s spent very quickly. The ending trudges along in a series of events that increasingly gets more tiresome.
That being said, it has great performances, particularly by the lead Havana Rose Lui. Also love seeing Dale Dickey and Dennis Haysbert in anything. The film looks great and the setting is really well utilised here.
If you want a horror thriller to fill two hours of your time, No Exit isn’t a bad way to spend it.
So the moral of the story is: if you didn’t like the book, you’ll probably not like the movie either.