He’s Out There (2018)
★ / ★★★★
This cheap and disgusting movie does not deserve to be seen by anybody. I am appalled that it received the green light to be made. Not only is it a badly conceived and executed slasher flick, the content is bottom-of-the-barrel, brainless death march in which the end goal is to show as many people suffering as possible. I suppose if you’re into children-in-danger movies where little ones are threatened to get run over by a car, to get their eyeballs cut out of the sockets, to get their limbs chopped off by an ax, congratulations, this is for you. Consider reevaluating your taste in movies. Maybe even consider booking an appointment with a counselor.
As for the screenwriter, Mike Scannell, and director, Quinn Lasher, I would like to ask what in the world they were thinking by turning such a shameful idea into reality. Violence in horror films is not new. There have been hundreds of them since the late ‘70s. But there is a limit, lines not to be crossed. I cannot recall a film in which a masked killer is left to terrorize children for an extended amount of time once the parents have been mutilated and disposed of. We watch these kids thrashing and shrieking in the masked killer’s arms. He knocks them unconscious. He puts sharp weapons over their faces afterwards. It is supposed to pass as entertainment, but I just felt rotten having to sit through it. I wanted to yell at the filmmakers involved.
Its depravity aside, I would like to take a moment to comment on the stupidity of the material. It begins like any other generic horror picture: a family (Yvonne Strahovski, Justin Bruening, Anna Pniowsky, Abigail Pniowsky) goes on their annual trip to the lake house. At first, a masked psychopath (Ryan McDonald) observes from afar. Come sundown, he begins to terrorize his victims. Clichés pile up like clockwork: the landline stops working, cell phones go missing from the place they were last placed, children go investigating in the woods while mommy isn’t looking.
Even the children are not written smart. They seem to read a lot of books with life lessons in them. I guess they skipped those that warn of not eating food prepared by strangers. Their lack of common sense is astounding, but they are especially annoying: screaming during the most inappropriate times, especially when they are supposed to be hiding and quiet, and rebellious when their mother urges them to be brave so they can make an escape. And yet—we are supposed to root for these girls… How? The answer is because they are children. Nothing else. The film uses the fact that they are kids so that we care for them on an instinctual level, nothing about their specific personal characteristics. This lack of ambition, this general lack of effort, is offensive to me.
Also insulting is the picture’s lack of creativity, a lack for an artistic eye. Look at the picture and notice how cheap it looks. Observe the opening minutes and notice how oversaturated images look. A filter of some sort is used to make it look like a cloudy day or that the movie is moodier or more atmospheric than it actually is. As for its so-called scares, there is a lack of rhythm to them. Tension rises but it is often that moments of catharsis occur off-screen. Why? I want to know what kind of horror movies inspired the filmmakers, if any. Because they have seen the wrong ones.
“He’s Out There” deserves to be forgotten because it is junk, artistically and morally. Do not make the mistake of investing even one second of your precious life in this garbage.