Netflix’s latest horror project about the haunted house No One Gets Out Alive (Nightmare No Escape 2021) has tried to spread the fear of illegal immigrants to viewers, including including myself. Adapted from Adam Nevill’s 2014 horror novel, No One Gets Out Alive captures its attention when it chooses to explore the immigration crisis through the lens of horror.
But unfortunately, director Santiago Menghini was not able to exploit well the attractive theme that the film possesses, giving himself a collection of empty, pointless scare scenes.
No One Gets Out Alive opens with the image of a woman talking on the phone in a living room filled with gloomy blue, outside when a storm is raging. On TV, a news report showed undocumented immigrants being detained by the border patrol.
Suddenly losing power, Ambar – the film’s heroine sees a box at the end of the hallway and then not too surprised, she is attacked by a ghost with glowing eyes. This is a fairly standard opening of a horror movie, briefly explaining the plot to the viewer. But in the next 85 minutes, the film does not exploit the suspense horror as the opening brings.
The film follows Ambar (Cristina Rodlo) – a young Mexican girl who decides to set foot in the US to earn a business management degree after years of caring for her elderly mother. Despite being arranged by her rich uncle for a job interview, Ambar unfortunately lost all of her identification in an accident. Unable to go to an interview, she couldn’t return to the motel she was renting because the owner asked for identification.
While working at an illegal clothing store, Ambar saw an advertisement for cheap rooms in Schofield Heights. One of the highlights of the movie is definitely this dark, creepy motel setting. Horrible noises and eerie voices come from the basement of the building, but the landlord – Red (Marc Menchaca) doesn’t want anyone down there to check on the situation.
All the familiar details about a haunted house are present in the movie Nightmare Without Exit: Scary sounds at loud and small to scare you, flashing lights blinking off, glowing eyes of a The specter announces its presence in the dark contributing to a ghastly atmosphere. However, the film distracts viewers by Ambar’s efforts to earn money in life to live, out of poverty, not just want to get rid of some ghost in the house.
The element that destroys the appeal of this film stems from the major changes compared to the original version. For example, Neville’s novel focuses on a woman named Stephanie who is tired of a temporary job and lives in a rundown house. And No One Gets Out Alive depicts Ambar’s life with other illegal immigrant women, typically Freja (Vala Noren) and Petra. Unfortunately, the screenwriters did not exploit these characters so that the audience could see why they decided to choose illegal immigration. In addition to the above, if the novel puts the heroine in a situation of struggling with poverty, the version uses Ambar’s economic difficulties as an incentive for her to enter the United States illegally.
In general, No One Gets Out Alive does not fully develop the attractive haunted house premise and does not use the familiar motifs of the horror film series to make viewers feel scared. In addition, the film also did not take advantage of the promising immigration theme and only put it in the film as a “viewing rod”. What director Menghini does is still very superficial, lacking in sophistication when bringing sensitive topics into a horror film – the genre that should be used to expose the evil in each person.
At a time when immigration is still a hot topic and the plight of immigrants continues to play out around the world, No One Gets Out Alive not only fails to deliver frightening scenes. necessary fear but also does not deliver any meaningful deep message. For myself, this movie did not live up to expectations as the promising topic that the producers chose to exploit.