No One Gets Out Alive (film, 2021)

No One Gets Out Alive (film, 2021)

As a horror fan, I have seen my fair share of horror movies over the years -- both good and bad. No One Gets Out Alive, which I watched yesterday on Netflix, unfortunately, falls more into the latter category.

The film introduces us to Ambar, a young Mexican woman who has recently arrived in Cleveland illegally to start a new life. She works in a sweatshop and cannot afford rent, forcing her to take a room at a run-down boarding house owned by the creepy Red. From the beginning, strange noises and apparitions unsettle Ambar in the house.

Things get even more bizarre as Ambar's curiosity about the happenings leads her down a dangerous path. It's revealed that Red and his brother Becker are somehow connected to the supernatural forces at play. Their endgame involves ritualistic human sacrifices conducted in the dank basement by a bizarre creature.

As the story progresses, more questions arise than answers. The film lays a murky foundation but fails to sufficiently explore or explain the mythology it introduces. Director Santiago Menghini clearly aimed for a layered slow-burn approach but lost his audience in the execution.

Cristina Rodlo is commendable in Ambar's lead role. She conveys her character's vulnerability and perseverance through steadily escalating torment. However, the screenplay does her no favors by making Ambar obliviously wander into predictable peril. Marc Menchaca and David Figlioli are unsettled as the creepy brothers but are ultimately underwritten villains.

One highlight is the atmospheric cinematography capturing the eerie boarding house setting. Lighting and composition effectively build an unsettling mood throughout most of the runtime. Creature effects in the climax are okay-ish. But these strengths can't compensate for severe narrative shortcomings.

Ultimately, No One Gets Out Alive gets a resounding "meh" from me. Atmospheric elements and social themes keep it watchable for stretches. But a muddled plot, nonsensical reveals, and wasting of a compelling setup result in a film greater than the sum of its parts. While ambitious on paper, poor execution means missing opportunities to capitalize on real-world themes. Horror fans have plenty more deserving options that are actually scary rather than style over substance. This one can comfortably be skipped.