For a story that had already built up the tension without the use of any brutal means, the repeated sequences don’t do much for the film or the housemates’ predicament. Just like how the expansiveness of the house is a welcome change from the other trope-filled horror movies, here the makers use Ambar’s isolation to inject her and the audience with fear.
Story: Mexican immigrant Ambar (Cristina Rodlo) ekes out a living working at a tailoring unit, in hopes of getting a permanent job in the US. Finding herself strapped for cash, she checks into a cheap boarding house, run by two brothers. After multiple struggles in the foreign country leave her lost, she soon finds out that the nightmare she has to escape is not the world outside but the house she is living in.
Review: Almost a year ago, His House – an indie horror film about Sudanese immigrants who seek asylum in England – reinvented the horror genre, by depicting the horrors that refugees have to endure in their lives while connecting it to the supernatural forces in the confines of a house, which they believe is their shelter and a new start. Mirroring this is Netflix’s latest horror-thriller – No One Gets Out Alive.
In Santiago Menghini’s directorial, which is based on Adam Neville’s eponymous novel, the protagonist Ambar is a Mexican immigrant chasing the American dream. Strapped for cash and barely able to afford a decent place to stay, Ambar, who works in a tailoring unit filled with people sharing similar plight, decides to check into a cheap boarding house that is run by two brothers. The boarding house here gives the movie an airier feel compared to the dilapidated setting in His House. However, Menghini sidesteps from the usual horror tropes of creaking floors and rusty pipes, for most parts at least, and delves into the mind of its protagonist to bring out the fear.
As Ambar’s problems at holding a job and sourcing money keep piling on, she becomes more isolated. But soon she finds that it’s not the outside world that she has to fear. Through visions of what has happened over the years to the family that has owned the place, Ambar relives nightmarish scenarios that soon catch up to her and the other housemates.
For over an hour, No One Gets Out Alive progresses at a steady, slow pace, unravelling its character Ambar, who has had to put her life on hold for years due to an illness to her loved one. Menghini connects this aspect to the supernatural elements in the story in the third act, which makes for some violent scenes. For a story that had already built up the tension without the use of any brutal means, the repeated sequences don’t do much for the film or the housemates’ predicament. Just like how the expansiveness of the house is a welcome change from the otherwise trope-filled horror movies, here the makers use Ambar’s isolation to inject her and the audience with fear. Menghini instead uses the apparations for a different purpose.
Marc Menchaca (Ozark) and David Figlioli play the brothers who run the boarding house. While the former balances elements of amiability and aggression in the right measure, Figlioli’s Beck is menacing. Rodlo’s performance as the distressed Ambar further strengthens the movie’s appeal, especially with the surprisingly good ending that explains why Beck felt he was 'chosen' and other questions that the entire film builds up to till that point.
Verdict: No One Gets Out Alive might not be packed with thrills or jump scares as a Don’t Breathe that has you on the edge of your seat within the first few minutes, the Netflix horror-thriller builds up its protagonist through her trials and tribulations so the audience feel her loneliness. Even though it does get violent in the final half hour, the unpredictable twists in the end justifies the title and also makes for a worthy watch.