October is almost here and Netflix is ready to overwhelm us with a huge quantity of horror content. Of course, some of it will be good and some of it could be better, but the biggest streaming platform in the world will always make sure that we have something to watch. So here comes “No One Gets Out Alive” Netflix’s horror output of the week? Will it live up to Halloween hype, or should it have been released at a different time?
No One Gets Out Alive is directed by Santiago Menghini, and it stars Cristina Rodlo in the main role. The film tells the story of Ambar a young undocumented migrant who comes to the United States to have a new start in life after her mother’s death. Stuck with an awful job, no papers and very little money, Ambar can’t catch a break when she gets a cheap room in an old house that seems to hide some very terrible things.
Although its title can sound very generic, No One Gets Out Alive manages to be way above the average of what Netflix’s films have us used to. The film delivers a very solid story, some very cool visuals and a very powerful performance by Rodlo, who continues to cement herself as one of the best young talents in Hollywood.
Menghini, who has made a name for himself with his atmospheric and sometimes very creepy short films, jumps into directing features and pulls it off most of the time. It’s very clear that by this point, Menghini has a very clear understanding of cinema, and his decisions hit every time in the correct way. The director stays away from the classic and overused trope of the jump scare and instead decides to let the moments come and go naturally. Each one comes with a warning that something is coming, and you still can not do anything about it. Menghini and his team also managed to pull off some very cool shots, the ones you know they spent time composing and finding the best way to shoot them. Menghini shows a lot of promise, and it wouldn’t be surprising if he started getting more features with this film in his portfolio.
The film also has its own unique look with a lot of cold colors that make the city look like a very inhospitable place, one that’s going to get you the first moment you let your guard down. The camerawork and sound design are also incredibly solid. The production values make the film look really professional and worth at least one watch late at night for full effect.
Rodlo has been on a roll lately. She has been killing it in roles in shows like Too Old to Die Young and the second season of The Terror. Now, she assumes the main role of the film and basically carries the film alone from beginning to end with ease. The actress delivers a very sympathetic performance where she creates a very human character, one with tons of empathy, dreams, and regrets but also a fierce strength that makes her resist the pretty strong low punches of life. By the end, the character of Ambar becomes a figure you want to succeed because you know she deserves it.
What makes the film stand even more apart from its peers comes in the form of the story itself. The film mixes the classic trope of the haunted house, but makes the origin of the curse a mystery until the last act. When the revelation comes, it is in the form of the art design and very good visual effects, of the quality that you don’t expect in a film like this. Maybe the story doesn’t really dwell as much as it could on the origins of this specific situation. But it doesn’t matter, the execution feels and looks really cool, and I’m certain it is something people have never seen on their screen. Just that extra step into creating something unique makes the film better.
The other aspect that really makes the movie stand out is its social commentary. The film makes a very clear commentary on illegal migration and how some of the people that arrive without papers in another country, end up being taken advantage of or even worse. It’s a sad reality in today’s society, and it will make you think, no matter your opinion on the subject. Do these people need to be punished for looking for a better life? Should they receive help? Or should there be no tolerance for people in these situations? All of them are hard questions, and the film will not give you a straight answer other than these things are happening to human beings with feelings and families, etc. It isn’t happening to things.
No One Gets Out Alive is a generic title for sure, but don’t be scared. The movie overcomes its name very early on, and the final result is an enjoyable and well-made film that stands as maybe one of the best of Netflix’s original horror films. It also delivers great performance from one of the most talented young actresses in the medium, and it displays the work of a young director with tons of potential to keep climbing Mount Everest that is Hollywood.
If you want something creepy to start this year’s Halloween, No One Gets Out Alive is a better choice than most.