Santiago Menghini’s No One Gets Out Alive

No One Gets Out Alive is a hell of a title for a horror movie and the movie therein better live up to it, which in this case it sure damn does. This is a sensational film, one that has ghosts, body horror, Aztec lore, demonology, leering psychopaths, social commentary and some of the most chilling, effective scares I’ve seen of late. The story tells of young Mexican girl Ambar (Christina Rodlo) living illegally in the US and working for cash at a depressing sweatshop, trying to save up for a forged American visa. She rents a room in a spooky old converted mansion ran by weary, creepy Red, played by Mark Menchaca who seems to be carving out a nice little niche for himself these days in playing memorable horror antagonists. Something is very, very wrong in this house and no sooner has she unpacked her bags she’s seeing phantasms behind every corner, hearing weird noises all over the place and having terrifying waking nightmares. Is it haunted? Or something far worse? The film takes the already unfortunate and desperate situation of a woman of colour living alone and off the record in the USA, the danger of deportation always an element, and then whisks her right out of the frying pan into the fires of a dangerous supernatural predicament and the result is, intense to say the least. I won’t spoil what’s really going on in the house but I will say that the film offers up one of the most visually staggering, indescribably bizarre, nightmarishly breathtaking movie monsters I’ve ever seen in horror. Seriously, if you think that weird deer demigod thing in The Ritual was odd, just wait til you see this one, it’s truly imaginative nightmare fuel and took me right off guard. Director Santiago Menghini has his feature debut here and it’s one of the strongest I’ve ever seen. Spatially aware camera movements, optical tricks and careful layers of light, darkness and colour make this an unnerving haunted house to get lost in. The gore is truly shocking, the characters are well drawn and realistic and like I said, that monster is simply one for the books, in this case the Guinness Book of Coolest Horror Movie Monsters Ever. Great film.

-Nate Hill