Plot: What’s it about?
In order to live it up to the fullest, a group of teens decide to spend Spring Break at an isolated cabin in the woods, where no one can bother them. The kids plan to booze it up, venture out into the woods on nature walks, get laid whenever possible, and of course, go down to the pond to engage in some nekkid swims. But one of the friends sees the potential for some real trouble, as he has seen a ton of horror movies and to him, this all seems like a rotten plan. This teen is Mike (Craig Peck), who tries to warn his friends about impending doom and avoiding horror movie cliche situations, but they pass him off as having an overactive imagination. But when some unusual events start to happen, it seems like something might be out there, perhaps even the kind of things that Mike tried to warn them about. As the kids are attacked and the bodies start to pile up, can Mike use his horror knowledge to guide the survivors to a safe conclusion?
A band of teens in an isolated cabin sounds like a well tread horror premise, but in this film, some welcome twists are thrown in the mix. The idea of a horror movie buff inside a horror movie is passe these days, since Scream ruined the premise with a horrid character, but in this case, that idea is well presented. I never found the horror buff to be annoying or cliched, whereas Scream’s attempt seemed to beg for credibility, which toppled the character’s impact. This one runs like a normal horror flick most of the time, with some hilarious and brilliant lines tossed in, which is why the case bills this as a blend of horror and humor. You’ll dumb blondes, stupid mistakes by the characters, naked flesh, blood, and more, all the things we’ve come to expect from this beloved genre. No, it isn’t as glossy or refined as some horror flicks, but it still rocks and is highly recommended, at least from this reviewer. This movie has all the elements needed to succeed and even with a shoestring budget, it does just that and I am very pleased to see it given a special edition release.
I wouldn’t say his performance is worthy of countless awards, but Craig Peck provides the most memorable turn in this picture, hands down. He has the most unique and well written character, which means he has the best lines and coolest moments. This was Peck’s first feature film and his turn is rough around the edges, but under the circumstances, I think his performance is more than solid enough. And when he falters, it simply adds to the goofiness of his character and overall humor level, which isn’t bad at all. Peck has also starred in Double Your Pleasure, but these two films comprise his entire filmography, which is odd. The cast also includes Wendy Bednarz (Vampires and Other Stereotypes), Mark Collver (Barb Wire, The Alien Files), Bonnie Bowers, John Carhart III, and Claudia Flores.
Video: How does it look?
There’s Nothing Out There is presented in a 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. The image looks a little dated and shows some wear, but this is still a very solid visual effort. The print shows some defects and as I mentioned, grain is present, but this is by no means murky or aged in an extreme fashion. The grain never impacts the other elements much, so colors remain solid, if a tad faded, while contrast is rich and refined. I know this one has some rough edges, but the image is much better than expected, given the obvious low budget nature of the picture. I commend Image for taking the extra steps here, to ensure an effective visual presentation.
Audio: How does it sound?
The stereo audio option won’t win any awards, but it does what it needs to, which in this case, is more than sufficient. The screams, moans, and other strange noises all come through in crystal clear form and never falter, quite a solid experience. Of course, this is not as immersive as a full on surround track would be, but I don’t think this movie needs the extra presence, as this track seems more than adequate. The sound effects are well placed, the cornball music sounds good, and dialogue is clean and crisp at all times. I would have liked to see some English subtitles included, but aside from that, I have no complaints here.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc bears the special edition label and more than deserves it, with a terrific selection of bonus materials on deck. We’ll start with an audio commentary which features writer/director Rolfe Kanefsky, as well as various cast members. I never figured this movie would be graced with such a session, but here it is, so fans should be thrilled. In a relaxed, humorous track, the participants recall their memories, some good and some bad, of what it was like to make the picture. All seem to have a good sense of humor and as such, never hesitate to point out the film’s weaker points. You can also view about seven minutes of pre-production footage with video storyboards, as well as ten minutes of rehearsal takes and bloopers, which are well worth a look. This disc also includes some talent files, an animation test reel, additional outtakes, a selection of still photos, some very cool audition tapes, excerpts from Femme Fatale magazine, and the film’s theatrical trailer.