I love horror and thriller films so when Disney offered me the chance to see No Exit early, I couldn’t pass it up. The trailer for this movie was just okay so I wasn’t expecting a masterpiece and set my expectations accordingly. After watching it, I can say that if you overlook some issues, it’s an enjoyable film. Let’s talk about why I think No Exit is a fun, mindless popcorn movie.
No Exit follows Darby, a recovering drug addict who breaks out of a Sacramento rehab facility to go see her mother who is on her deathbed in Salt Lake City. However, she gets caught in a snowstorm and the police relocate her to a community center where several others are also bunkered down waiting for the storm to pass. When Darby finds a young girl tied up in a car in the parking lot, she has to figure out how to rescue her and which of the other stranded travelers is the kidnapper.
Undoubtedly, the best part of No Exit is its cast. Havana Rose Liu gives a good leading performance as Darby. She carries the film with a tough and emotional performance that makes her one of the most likeable and strong final girls I’ve seen in a while. The film also has a good supporting cast and each person gets their time to shine. Dennis Haysbert is my personal favorite.
Something that really surprised and delighted me about this film is the excellent cinematography. Cinematographer Simon Raby takes the camera and uses it in very exciting ways. There are some clever shots using things like car mirrors and several well-shot long takes. Overall, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the cinematography and I hope to see more of Raby’s work soon.
Now, let’s get to what I didn’t like. Firstly, I feel that the whole mystery element of the film was revealed way too early. You figure out who is behind the kidnapping 30-40 minutes in and I would’ve rather it was revealed in the last 20-30 minutes. It took me out of the film a bit and I didn’t like that.
The third act also drags on a bit for me. By the last 25 minutes, it starts to get predictable and I started paying less and less attention. I was somewhat relieved when it was over, despite my enjoying most of the film. Again, if they kept the suspense going a bit longer, it would have made for a better viewing experience.
Overall, No Exit is a middle-of-the-road addition to the thriller genre. I wouldn’t rush to watch it right away but if you have 90 minutes to spare, this isn’t a bad way to kill the time.