No One Gets Out Alive clumsily sets its sights on illegal immigration and Silent Hill-style monsters, and checks off just about every imaginable horror cliche in the book along the way. This UK production, filmed in Romania, has a stylistic flair thanks to director Santiago Menghini, who makes his feature directorial debut. It also happens to have a solid foundation, in being based on the novel of the same title from author Adam Nevill. A horror film needs more than style to keep it afloat, and sadly, No One Gets Out Alive buckles under the weight of that pressure.
Ambar (Cristina Rodlo) is fresh off a truck, potentially having immigrated illegally in pursuit of the so-called American Dream. She begins working for a fabric factory, making bare minimum pay. Strapped for cash, Ambar hears about a cheap room for rent, and moves into a big new building with surprising ease. Of course, this strange boarding house is more than meets the eye. Ambar hears sobbing coming up through the floors. The only other tenant, Freja (Val Noren), is not halfway as worrisome as Ambar’s super, Red (Marc Menchaca). What secrets prowl these derelict hallways? Ritualistic sacrifices, long twisting train visuals, typical ghostly hijinks, and a creepy crate housing a devilish monster—what could possibly go wrong?
As far as eerie apartment building-set horror goes, I can think of at least five others that execute the concept to far greater heights. For truly chilling apartment-set horror, try Demons 2, Poltergeist III, The Toolbox Murders, or Quarantine instead. No One Gets Out Alive wastes too much time revisiting tropes instead of giving us compelling characters or scenarios from its well-worn setup. The film is well-cast, and brutal bursts of gory violence provide ample thrills and chills in the home stretch. In the end though, it simply never justifies its existence enough to leave much of a mark.
No One Gets Out Alive climbs out of its crate when it premieres on Netflix on Wednesday, September 29th.