"...a really intense, fun time."
NO EXIT (2022)
THE "IMDB" PREMISE:
"During a blizzard and stranded at an isolated highway rest stop in the mountains, a college student discovers a kidnapped child hidden in a car belonging to one of the people inside."
OUR [TO THE POINT] REVIEW:
Opening up with a drug rehabilitation meeting, we quickly meet our lead Darby being an obnoxious patient who’s clearly run out of trust from anyone around her. Havana Rose Liu understands how to physically portray her feelings, but when it comes to dialogue – which is a driving force to why she is on the road during a blizzard – it comes off as though she is reading a cue card.
As the film drives on, her performance brings with it less irritation every time she speaks as hopes are high that she is NOT the final girl in this scenario. From a physical standpoint she’s a standout, but it’s with her delivery of the script that makes it difficult to root for her.
In fact, it’s incredibly difficult to root for anyone to survive this blizzard, apart from one character (which will go on as a mystery). Filling out the cast is Danny Ramirez, David Rysdahl, Dale Dickey, and Dennis Haysbert who are all suspects in the kidnapping of a young girl. However, even the little girl restrained in the van is another person to not root for; one scene ruins the intense desire to rescue her from her captor, and that may be vain of me, but that’s how I interpreted what the film provided.
The performances aside from Liu are all fantastic, and I really dug that they were just random individuals stuck isolated inside a rest stop during a weather emergency. The short-lived mystery of who the kidnapper is was quite a shocking discovery. No Exit has numerous twists and turns that for such a minimal cast truly utilized nearly all of them. The snowstorm element of the story played a significant part in the mystery of the kidnapped girl – building tension through left footprints.
Visually, No Exit has created a wonderful set to watch our characters' paranoia get the better of them – while a striking snowstorm is happening outside. The film isn’t overtly gory, but near the end of the film the violence and theatrics are heightened to make for a really intense, fun time – that would have been better if the characters were worth rooting for.
Damien Power’s No Exit is a visually striking horror thriller that’ll have you waiting with anticipation for each character’s next chess move. It’s just a shame that this set of characters couldn’t have been a much more likable or interesting bunch to watch survive the chaos of a deadly night confined in a blizzard.