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.