No One Gets Out Alive (Movie Review)

What could be more frightening then the desperation you feel when your backs against the wall, you’re struggling to make ends meet, all in an attempt to make a better life for yourself? Well, try to imagine that on top of dealing with supernatural events and you’ve got No One Gets Out Alive. Based on the novel of the same name by Adam Nevill, No One Gets Out Alive follows a young woman named Ambar (Cristina Rodlo: Too Old To Die Young 2019, Miss Bala 2019), an immigrant who leaves Mexico for Cleveland after the death of her mother.

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Available to view on Netflix as of Thursday, September 29, 2021, it is directed by Santiago Menghini, an immigrant from Brazil, who does an amazing job at shedding light on these very real-life horrors in a way that is both unsettling and heartbreaking. From the moment the film starts there is an unsettling atmosphere created around Ambar. The eerie feeling of looking over your shoulder, the heart-wrenching fear that every noise you hear is a reminder that you are not alone – all things that fall under the category of common horror tropes.

However, as an undocumented immigrant the fear that Ambar experiences is a very real threat that goes beyond your typical Horror film. She scrambles, working at a sweatshop for the bare minimum to be able to find a place to stay while trying to attend college. At her wits end, Ambar moves into a seedy boarding house, ran by landlord Red (Marc Menchaca: Homeland series, Ozark series), but both he and the house are less than comforting.

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The beginning of the film tends to drag on a bit, but the slow burning tension works to build a world of suspense. While the boarding house is obviously less than ideal, it increasingly becomes worse as strange happenings begin to take place. Each night, Ambar is haunted by strange wailings and visions of her late mother that she spent years taking care of and other missing women. There is a mysterious box somewhere in the building that seems to be calling out to her, luring her into something more sinister and all signs point to her landlord and his even creepier brother Becker (David Figlioli: Kirby Buckets series, General Hospital series). Due to the gravity of her situation, Ambar is unfortunately stuck in her own living nightmare, not being able to safely and feasibly find refuge elsewhere.

The horror in the film lies in both what is real and what is not. Up until the climax of the film, the threats Ambar faces come from both her own reality and the horrifying visions that walk the line of being real or figments of her own imagination. It all comes to a head when the very real threat quite literally pops up in the last few minutes of the film. It is a huge CGI monster, that honestly, takes away from the effectiveness of the storyline. There is always the issue of whether showing too much or too little of a monster can make or break a film. Unfortunately in this case, it hurts it.

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Overall, No One Gets Out Alive rings true to its title as it serves as a metaphor for the very real horrors of everyday life and how in the end no one – well – gets out alive. It is an effective haunted house story with a protagonist you actively root for. That in mind, Rodlo is absolutely the stand out with her ability to portray every emotion in a way that makes you experience it alongside her. It’s an interesting watch to say the least, and that is Cryptic Rock gives No One Gets Out Alive 2.5 out of 5 stars.


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