There's Nothing Out There (1991) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)
|Well, it was a good idea.
I probably would have enjoyed it quite a bit in 1991, because it was actually made before the Scream series and the other various self-referential genre films and genre parodies that have come along since. Sadly, this film is hard to watch now because it is essentially the original Scream, except with an amateur cast and crew.
The idea is that seven teenagers go for a weekend in an isolated cabin in some spooky deserted woods. One of the guys, the one without a date, has seen every horror movie ever made, and he recognizes the signs of imminent danger. The foreshadowing, the warning stage, the people disappearing in the woods, the mysterious unknown substance, blah, blah. This guy is meant to be funny, but let me warn you that the script was written by a high school student, and was filmed when he was just barely out of high school. Do you know what high school students sound like when they think are being clever, cracking jokes and having insights that are fresh and original, but to adults listening, they sound like a bunch of dumb-asses? Do you know what it's like when everyone is trying to mellow out at a party, except that there is one guy there who thinks he is smart and likes to hear the sound of his own voice, and he keeps making "sarcastic" comments about stuff that nobody really cares about, and everyone else is rolling their eyes at each other?
|Imagining those circumstances will give
you a pretty good idea of what this movie is like. It
really thinks it is witty. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. I
think it's clever sometimes. But it's always there
telling you it's clever, thinking it is clever, always
the sarcastic high-school guy telling you that he's
smarter than you are. In fact, this film is rated a
lukewarm 5.9 at IMDB by people aged 18-29, but a dreadful
Ed Woodesque 3.5 by older viewers. You will be most
likely to like it if you enjoy an all night horror movie
bull session in the freshman dorms. If you're past that,
you're also past this film.
One of the more engaging things about the movie is that while it knows that all those other teen/slasher horror movies suck, it also knows that it sucks itself. I like that a lot better than movies which take themselves seriously. In fact, the characters in the movie are like Pirandello characters, wondering if they are real or in a play. The fourth wall is non-existent.
|"Mike, that's what happens in movies,
this is real life"
"Are you sure?"
"Are you saying we're in a movie?"
(Looking at camera, then back at the other character) "It's a distinct possibility"
Further destroying the illusion, at one point the lead actor escapes the monster by swinging away on one of the boom mikes. That gives you the general idea.
Anyway, as it turns out, there was something out there. A horny, violent, but not-too-bright monster who wants to eat the men and have sex with the women.
I have to say that I did love the ending. Three of the seven teenagers make it safely back to the main road. They stop and pick up a frightened girl who has been in the woods. She would seem OK to any of us. She seems to be in the same boat as our stars, just a frightened kid escaping the monster. Unfortunately for her, because she MIGHT possibly be under the control of the monster, and the others have started to smarten up about these things, they won't take any more chances. They throw her out of the van and back into the lonely woods, and drive off into the credits.
The movie's strengths:
The movie's main weakness:
The production budget was $300,000. I don't think they have recouped it all. The film slipped through the cracks, although it has a cult following from its occasional appearances on late-night cable.
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