He's Out There (Movie Review)

He's Out There (Movie Review)
7 10

PLOT: On vacation at a remote lake house, a woman and her two young daughters fight to survive after falling into a terrifying and bizarre nightmare conceived by a psychopath

REVIEW: HE'S OUT THERE is a movie most of you might not be familiar with. And fair enough. The movie was unceremoniously put up on Netflix this past September after being a flick that I was looking forward to checking out... back in 2016. The reason I was keeping track of the film was that it was directed by a man by the name Denis Iliadis. And for those who might not know, Iliadis is the guy who was behind the lens for the remake of Wes Craven's THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT. I dug that remake and so Iliadis made my list of directors to keep track off. I checked out his follow-up sci-fi doppelganger flick +1 and thought it was a serviceable thriller. The man still had good standing in my eyes. So bring on HE'S OUT THERE, I said.

The last time we reported on the movie at AITH was back in July of 2016 when we passed along word the film had begun shooting with Iliadis at the helm and Yvonne Strahovski (CHUCK, THE PREDATOR) starring. I lost track of the movie over the years and then I heard in passing it was now on Netflix. After a bit of research, I found the film had been dumped by its initial distributor Screen Gems (RESIDENT EVIL, UNDERWORLD) and was acquired by Vertical Entertainment (PATIENT ZERO, HERE ALONE), and released in September without any promotion (that I know of). Ouch. Not only that but it seems that Iliadis took his name off the film (or was replaced during filming) and the movie is now credited to a director named Quinn Lasher. Which sounds like "Quick Slasher" to me... But maybe he's a real guy. I don't know. HE'S OUT THERE is the man's only credit on IMDb.

But all of that history aside, last week I finally sat down to peep the movie. My girlfriend was out and I had some time alone so I put the film up on Netflix to see what was what. Call it morbid curiosity. I've done this before with movies. I hear something is REALLY bad, so I think, 'let's see how far I can get before it all falls apart.' After all, this means I'm not settling down for a full movie. Just long enough to see a movie go to hell and then move on with my life. But low and behold, not only did I make it through HE'S OUT THERE, but in the end, I enjoyed my time spent at this lake house of doom! My girlfriend did too by the way. She came home ten minutes in and watched the whole thing with me - and she's not much of a horror fan.

Let's start with the positives. The movie kicks off in the right way with a creepy kid's book leading the charge. It features a sinister crow telling a small mouse a truly scary riddle. I'm not sure if this is a real kid's book or not, but it's creepy as hell and if it is real, then I'm buying a copy ASAP. From there the movie kicks off with Strahovski taking her two young daughters to their remote lake house for the weekend. Once there, they must "fight for survival after falling into a terrifying and bizarre nightmare conceived by a psychopath." Freaky shite. The plot is that simple and so there's no need to go into it any further. Let's keep on the positives put forth. For one, the kid cast in question is great. Anna and Abigail Pniowsky are real sisters and this helped the film out big time. Not only do they feel like genuine sisters, but they, obviously, look alike, and work off each other with ease. Smart move in the casting department, no? Anna Pniowsky you might not be familiar with, but I think you know Abigail Pniowsky from her roles in such genre efforts as CHANNEL ZERO and ARRIVAL. Needless to say, the two are tough little thespians and we should expect to see more from them in the future. 

And speaking of the kid cast, putting kids in danger is a twist that we don't normally see in home invasion slasher movies - and it's about as cheap as putting a pregnant woman in danger. But whatever, it worked for me. Having kids be the center of the terror this time around made me care more. No one cares if teenagers live or die (in movies) and people barely care if a handsome single young couple (*cough THE STRANGERS *cough) is the subject of torment. But we can't help but care if it's kids and kittens at the center of the terror. Again, it could rightfully be called a cheap ploy to put two little girls into danger and call it suspense, but again, it worked for me. It's very rare to see a home invasion movie or a slasher for that matter where you WANT to see the heroes succeed. You get that here. You're scared when the monster comes to call. You're worried that the film will be brutal enough to kill off the kids (does it? I'll never tell...). Whatever ploy this movie used to create tension and danger, it worked. So fair game, I say. 

Adding to the positives, the movie sports a killer with an awesome mask (see above) and the main maniac has a penchant for some "demonic giggling" as the subtitles put it. The laugh itself is pretty unnerving - especially when it emanates from the dark woods in the middle of the night. Brr. Tag to that, Strahovski and her little ones make for a good trio of Final Girls. Again, it's rare in a slasher film and/or a home invasion thriller to be cheering on anyone other than the masked killer, but during the course of HE'S OUT THERE, I was all about our Final Girls and their ultimate survival.

Now let's talk about the negatives. Like many slashers and home invasion movies, this flick sports some utterly stupid character moves to merely serve the plot and/or keep it going. These character moves are frustrating as all hell, but thankfully they are semi-inconsistent. Other than that, truth be told there aren't many negatives in my eyes... other than the fact that the movie is a serviceable home invasion slasher film and nothing more. Sure we've seen all of this before by the numbers. But it was still a fun 90 minutes that gives us a hint of freshness here and there. It's much better than recent slasher disappointment, HELL FEST. And hell, the movie is even better than THE STRANGERS. While this isn't a movie you need to rush over to Netflix and stream ASAP, it's one that you should log for a rainy Tuesday viewing. It won't disappoint in that regard. 


Source: AITH



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