No One Gets Out Alive

No One Gets Out Alive ★★½

"Stay a little longer."

Packed with early chills that are very effective before becoming more story-driven and open-ended with its plot threads, 'No One Gets Out Alive' is occasionally horrifying and has one of the best ever creature designs I've ever seen, albeit marred by CGI. Like a lot of horror films, the moments and eerie visions that were once scary slowly get explained and recognized, to the point that they become innocent, in a sense, and no longer scary - the real monsters were hiding in plain sight all along. It's a commendable twist but one that's been done time and time again. Thankfully, the film isn't always playing into cliches and generic expectations, but it has its moments.

The film manages to employ some rather great looking shots, particularly in the creepy late night sequence where the ghosts begin to reveal themselves - a mirror offering a broader angle, a crashing lamp's electrical spark illuminating the otherwise hidden, fighting ghosts. It felt unique to me and made for some very fresh moments. Cristina Rodlo is great as the undocumented immigrant lead who can't easily resolve her situation due to her status, and Marc Menchaca, brilliant as always, is uncertain in his status as the creepy building owner, overshadowed by his monstrous brother, Becker. The predicament the two share makes for an interesting finale, one that's a bit short on impact and weight, but leads to a solid resolution for the main protagonist.

The film has some fun ideas on display, some curious motifs and themes, but I wish it had delved into them a bit more, as they went way too unexplained for my tastes - the reason behind Ambar constantly having flashbacks and visions of her mother, the explanation for all the bugs coming back to life, or even the origins of the monster, devastatingly nightmarish in appearance, and why it haunts the building in such a calculated, understood manner. Maybe some of these details flew over my head, and while I certainly wanted to know more, it was still a fairly entertaining ride with a few highlights that helped prop up an otherwise lackluster movie.

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