• Strictly Films

No Exit; Grade: C

Before we start this review: Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those in Ukraine, during this tragic moment in their lives. Bring safety, security, glory, and peace to their way.

No Exit tells a story about a recovering drug addict named Darby (Havana Rose Liu) whom has been notified in rehab that her mother is in the hospital, in serious critical condition. So Darby escapes the facility, as she’s driving on her way to Utah where her mother is located. However: There is a serious snow storm taken place, as the roads are closed as she’s directed to go to this shelter. While in the shelter there is no phone service, so Darby goes outside hoping to get a bar or two. Unfortunately: Darby notices a young girl is locked in a van, duck tapped around her mouth, as she’s crying for help. In this shelter there is four lone strangers, which one of these individuals are involved in this kidnapping and what is the main purpose in this kidnapping?!

Since Disney acquiring 20th Century Fox, I’ve been noticing a couple of their films are finding their way into being shipped to Hulu?! Now some titles did receive a theatrical release as well like Nomadland and Summer of Soul, however a couple titles been dumped such as Vacation Friends and now No Exit. I wonder if this trend is going to continue or it’ll eventually stop due to the world sort of getting back to the way things were, my take of course is always screw streaming, put the films in theaters.

I gotta say: The films Disney dumped on Hulu… I can not complain at all, especially with No Exit. In terms of quality it deserves to be shipped to streaming, but more so… I don’t see this film getting any kind of profit at all, as this would’ve gotten barely any money out of the box office. So at least there is a legitimate reasoning behind this film not seeing the light of day in theaters.

No Exit is an intriguing thriller that can honestly feel like a guilty pleasure kind of film. The film’s storyline on paper is by the books a thriller consisting of being set in one location, where there is a very serious situation in terms of characters hiding a secret that is inhumane, while these characters can’t leave the premises due to a storm. I will say the film is steadily paced and it surely doesn’t have any dull moments whatsoever.

The thing that is quite fascinating about the story… The twist in the third act, where it’s revealed who and why exactly this young girl was kidnapped in the first place. I honestly didn’t expect this reveal to even be a possibility, you can take it as a good thing or bad thing considering how goofy and bizarre it takes itself… Like I was laughing the meaning behind of this kidnapping ordeal, as it shoes in this serious crisis going in the world today, it was so strange.

The twist at hand honestly feels much tolerable, considering the fact the performances at hand and our characters in terms of their decision making… Oh boy, for a thriller I should not be laughing. The performances by majority of the cast lacks any sense of direction, as even those whom have had a fair amount experience in acting felt like this was their first time being in front of a camera. There are so many unnatural and awkward sequences between scenes, that these actors are immensely struggling whether it be the bad written dialogue or the fact the director doesn’t have a clue what they’re doing. Especially in the stand off featuring Dennis Haysbert… Does he understand what situation of his scene is?! He’s not at a BBQ, he’s fending for his life by a couple dangerous criminals, the line delivery for an actor like him was quite embarrassing.

I think for a thriller it kind of delivers it’s sole purpose, of delivering entertainment value to the audience. Like there is some exciting moments here and there, I also appreciate the fact this film goes for it in terms of executing brutal moments of violence and unsettling bloody sequences. Especially the sequence where a character is nailed to some kind of wood… That sequence got under my skin in a good way. The thing that bothersome about the finale is unfortunately does run on a bit too long.

I appreciate the fact No Exit at least was watchable for a 90 minute run time, I just wish the direction was better, the performances was better, and the tone was a bit more consistent as it struggles to decided between a goofy thriller or a serious thriller.

Overall, No Exit was just ok. I say give it a try if you have nothing better to do, this felt like a upscale LifeTime Television film. -Mitch Smietana

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