March 3, 2020 Exit 0 (Movie Review)
With their relationship failing, a couple head to the shore for a getaway weekend that just might be their last in Exit 0. Breaking Glass Pictures delivers the new Thriller to DVD on Tuesday, March 10th, 2020.
This road trip to the shore, away from the chaos of Brooklyn, just might save their relationship. Considering that nearly everything one does annoys the other, somewhat neurotic Billy (Gabe Fazio: The Place Beyond the Pines 2012, A Star Is Born 2018) and cell phone obsessed Lisa (Augie Duke: 6 Years, 4 Months & 23 Days short 2013, Clown Fear 2020) are going to need this time to de-stress and rekindle their romance. That is, if there ever was any fire between the pair to begin with.
Unfortunately, nearly as soon as they are checked into the historic Doctor’s Inn by a stately gentleman named Frederick (Kenneth McGregor: The Hurricane 1999, X-Men 2000), the tension amplifies much in thanks to the inn itself. A dresser drawer appears to open and shut of its own accord, drawing Billy’s attention and zapping his focus. With his mind already racing and his behavior erratic, he discovers a horrifying VHS tape, one that may contain evidence of an unsolved crime.
When that tape disappears, no one believes his story. Could the inn, in fact, be haunted or is Billy carrying the spirits of the past inside him? Is he losing his mind or is there a conspiracy afoot in this sleepy resort town?
Clocking in at 94 minutes, Exit 0 was written for the screen and directed by E.B. Hughes (Pacing the Cage 2014, Turnabout 2016), and is based on a story that Hughes co-wrote with Gregory Voigt (The Dock short 2012, Lockdown short 2016). It also features the acting talents of Federico Castelluccio (The Sopranos series, El cantante 2006), Daniel O’Shea (Hamburger Hill 1987, Streets of Gold 1986), Peter Greene (The Mask 1994, Pulp Fiction 1994), Boomer Tibbs (Working Girls 1986, Child Eater short 2012), and more.
Winner of Best Director of a Narrative Feature and Best Actor at the Chain NYC Film Festival, Best Actor at the Independent Horror Movie Awards, Best Thriller Feature at the Los Angeles Film Awards, and Best Horror Film at the Crown Wood International Film Festival, Exit 0 does a lot with very little. In the tradition of classic mysteries, this is a film that injects some supernatural elements all while playing around with the psychological state of its lead character. The end result is a story that moves at a languid pace, largely unfolding through dialogue and character interactions rather than through heavy action or gore.
In fact, the sole potential trigger in Exit 0 is a sexual assault scene, which encompasses less than three minutes of the entire runtime. Utilizing a more old-school approach to its storytelling, developing slowly as it seemingly offers its viewers multiple outcomes, it ultimately ties itself up with a bow that may or may not be satisfying, depending on the filmgoer. In this, Exit 0 is aimed more at fans of slow-burn Thrillers with a mystery angle, rather than fans of gratuitous violence and horror.
That said, while its story is not a particularly unique one, as finding an object that inspires a haunting mystery is hardly new, Exit 0 manages to take its concept and provide a minimalistic but satisfying film. This is very much in thanks to its wonderful cast, particularly Fazio, who plays Billy. In fact, at times it can feel like a vehicle solely to display Fazio’s talents as his character struggles with his traumatic past, his failing relationship, and awkward social interactions, all allowing the talented actor to spread his wings and develop his character to the fullest.
Certainly he is not performing alone, however, and his castmates all do equally well in their respective roles. Duke is believable, if not entirely likable as Lisa, a woman who is very likely carrying on an affair behind her boyfriend’s back. In the role of Viktor, Tibbs provides a humorous respite as he tries to handle a spastic Billy. Then there are Castelluccio (Detective Mueller) and McGregor (Frederick, not Fred) who, though provided largely cliché characters, are able to shine in their roles. Even O’Shea is able to take his limited screen time and use it to his advantage.
With all of this said, Exit 0 is a fairly straightforward, slow-burn story that is engaging for its runtime and chock-full of wonderful acting performances. Perhaps not the most unique tale you will see on your screen this year, it’s a good enough watch to keep you entertained on a quiet Sunday afternoon as you dread the coming Manic Monday. For this, Cryptic Rock gives Exit 0 3.5 of 5 stars.