Director: Santiago Menghini
Writer: Jon Croker and Fernanda Coppel
Starring: Cristina Rodlo, Mar Menchaca, David Figlioli, David Barrera, Joana Borja and Alejandro Akara
Based on the novel of the same name, by Adam Nevill, No One Gets Out Alive is the latest horror film from Netflix. It has all the tropes of a classic ghost story without any of the pay-off. Ambar (Cristina Rodlo) is an undocumented immigrant who has come to America for a better life. Without a lot of options, she moves into a cheap and decaying apartment building, while trying to raise enough money to buy ID to get a proper job. The apartment seems to be haunted by ghosts and Ambar has to escape.
There are a few chilling moments in the film, especially during the first act where a lot of atmosphere is built up with the ghosts appearing. It’s not clear what is happening, and it keeps you hooked for the first half of the film. It’s just a shame that it doesn’t do anything with the tension it builds. There isn’t enough story for the, already short, run time. It feels really dragged out and by the time the final act happens, with some nice effects and gore, you’re just waiting for it to be over.
Director Santiago Menghini excels at creating suspense, with dark and dreary lighting for every scene, unlikeable and sinister characters that Ambar has to deal with, and the ghosts. Ambar sees them in flashes with their footsteps remaining on the ground. There are a few chilling moments where you feel the film is going to be great, it just doesn’t keep it up for the whole film.
Cristina Rodlo is great as Ambar, you immediately care for her and want her to survive and unlike so many other horror protagonists, tries to leave when the ghosts start to appear. It’s her circumstances that stop her from truly escaping. She has no one to turn to and not enough money to escape by herself. There is a political undercurrent at the beginning, with undocumented workers being exploited in a factory, with news reports showing other factories being raided and workers being arrested, while the owners aren’t punished. The film isn’t overly political, it’s just a set up for why Ambar can’t get away.
No One Gets Out Alive just feels underdeveloped. Without going into spoilers for the ending, the hauntings don’t feel fully explored and the film really drags. It’s not even ninety minutes long, but feels a lot longer. There are some great chilling moments at the start, and horrific moments of violence towards the end but this film is destined to be lost in Netflix’s endless options for something to watch.
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