Good movies, regardless of classification, are going to come from those are filmmakers vs. fans. The current wave from the latter leaves a lot to be desired, as they approach projects from a narrow-focus angle that eschews objectivity and regurgitates a mishmash of titles they’ve seen without adding anything new. Recent offenders include Mimesis and now Nobody Gets Out Alive, a dirt-stupid slasher about dirt-stupid young people.
From my perspective, its problems cannot be pinned on budgetary issues, but poor scripting. Its entire premise hinges on a man going crazy because his 12-year-old daughter gets mowed down by a drunk driver … yet said man had no problem with her playing hopscotch on the highway, which prompts her demise. Hell, take “drunk” out the equation, and the girl still would be doomed to become butter to the pavement’s toast.
While that jumping-off point is quite a stretch, the remainder of the “flick” by writer/director Jason Christopher settles for being as unoriginal as possible: Annoying, horny young people ignore the stories of the crazed madman who lurks through those woods; crazed madman introduces their thick skulls to the business end of his sledgehammer. Substitute “machete” as the weapon of choice, and you have nearly the entire Friday the 13th franchise.
The resemblance to Friday the 13th — superficially, not skillfully — is not accidental; on the DVD’s production featurette, Christopher name-checks that 1980 classic along with Black Christmas, A Nightmare on Elm Street and The Prowler — “all these fuckin’ awesome movies” — as films he sought to emulate in his sophomore effort. Beyond the standard letting of blood, I noted no similarities to the others, all of which I own; Nobody possesses none of their menace, suspense or smarts. It’s strictly an imitation with bitter artificial flavoring.
Christopher’s characters are patently unlikable, due in part to acting challenges, but also to a screenplay that asks them to speak such dude-bro lines as “That shit’s beef,” “Dude, let’s drink beer!” and “On that note, I’m going to go utilize my wiener.” They’re constantly referring to marijuana as “ganj” — once is enough; twice begs for a visit to the thesaurus function of Urban Dictionary. All these would be right at home if the film were struck in the spoof mold; that he began writing it when he was 17 shows.
Good for Christopher for having the wherewithal to pull together the blood, sweat and tears to make a movie in the first place, and one that ends up looking competent on camera. Now if those same elements could be invested in crafting a story to match the technical side, he might have something worth its grassroots hype. —Rod Lott