The term ‘crowd-pleasure’ in the world of cinema can be taken in a couple of ways. Some may deem that as a knock on a film for not pushing the envelope creatively. Others (myself included) often consider this as a positive. Sometimes you just want to sit back and enjoy a movie without having to dive into deeper meanings or attempting to analyze what a film is telling us that we don’t see. Sometimes it’s fun to sit back and just take a ride with a movie, and that is what “No Exit” delivers.
It does have its small flaws and plot hindrances. There is also an element of predictability that is hard to overlook. Yet, none of that gets in the way of this one providing a delightfully tension filled story of survival. It thrives on a cold remote setting and with the harsh climates you can kick back on the couch with a blanket and escape into what this fateful night will deliver for the characters. That is where “No Exit” shines, in weaving a suspenseful narrative that doesn’t necessarily reinvent the wheel, as much as it shows the wheel still works. It has a quick pace, it lays simple foundations for the lead character Darby, and from there the film takes off.
The story doesn’t try too many twists and turns. Although it does have its conveniences. It keeps it basic, relies on situational tension, and the emotional intensity of the cast, and for a night at home with a movie “No Exit” unconditionally succeeds. The cast is led by a charismatic and charged performance from Havana Rose Liu. She isn’t necessarily a unique character on paper, but Liu certainly pours herself into the role to make it her own. You can easily get behind her character, she makes natural decisions which allows you to root for her and there is a determination in Darby that you can’t help but connect with throughout the narrative.
Dale Dickey and Dennis Haysbert cement the supporting cast and they are able to leave an impression. They bring a bit of validity to some of the story turns through their screen presence alone. This story is set in basically a single location with a group of characters stuck in a storm and it explores the familiar steps of random people pulled together, the tension of the unknown among the group, and all that, but this cast is able to elevate it enough to enable modest intrigue.
So, if you want an easily consumable thriller that delivers satisfying splashes of suspense and violence “No Exit” is worth a shot on Hulu. It knows what it is. But it doesn’t simply go through the motions. There is plenty of effort here to engage with and immerse yourself in. It may not break the mold, but Liu commands enough to have you taking this mission for survival with her and rooting for her success and sometimes that’s all a person needs from a movie.
Anthony J. Digioia II © 2022 SilverScreen Analysis. All Rights Reserved.