He’s Out There, 2018.
Directed by Quinn Lasher.
Starring Yvonne Strahovski, Justin Bruening, Abigail Pniowsky, Anna Pniowsky, and Julian Bailey.
On holiday at a remote Canadian lake house, a mother and her two young daughters must fight for survival after falling into a terrifying and bizarre nightmare conceived by a psychopath. For ‘John’ has been lurking in the shadows for years every time the family took a holiday and even left a children’s picture book to help them cope with the terrifying scenario he has meticulously planned.
Very Minor Spoilers Ahead.
I want you to play a game with me. It’s called slasher movie bingo. You’re going to fill up a card with slasher movie tropes, and I’m going to tell you, while spoiling as little as possible, what happens in He’s Out There. Tick off the tropes as you hear them, and once your card fills up, just shout “Bingo!”. Understand? Good.
Laura (Yvonne Strahovski) and her two daughters move into a house in the woods and settle down for a nice relaxing holiday. On their way there, they encounter a strange man who seems just a little bit too friendly, but they don’t seem to notice, nor do they worry.
Once they’ve settled in, the two girls head out while Laura strolls around the house looking for some clothes after her much-needed shower. While outside, the girls follow some red string and disappear from their mother’s sight, setting a precedent for the many bad decisions that will follow.
Naturally, the girls return, but the youngest grows ill. As she does, a mysterious masked man turns up at the house and threatens to kill them all. They try to run away, but the car won’t work, so they just run back into the house. Laura tries to call her husband, who is a few hours behind them on the road, but the phone lines are dead and there is no mobile signal. With nothing else to do, the trio decide they’ll just keep trying to escape in slightly different ways, returning to the house over and over again. All the while, the nigh omnipresent killer does his best to ensure that he poses just enough of a threat to keep them scared, while waiting a good seventy minutes before doing anything effective to harm them.
Oh, did I mention that the whole film is shot in super high contrast and super low saturation? I don’t think I did. What about the fact that the killer is armed with an axe? No, I don’t think I said that either. That the protagonists are as sharp as marbles? Yes, I think I did say that one, but it’s worth mentioning again.
It’s impossible to like any of the characters because they’re so incredibly bland, the killer’s motivations are beyond moronic, and there are a lot of LOUD NOISES…
Wait, was that a “Bingo!” I hear? Brilliant, fantastic, wonderful. You’ve just won yourself the satisfaction of not having to watch this movie. God how I envy you.
Bonus Round: dolls, screaming, jump scares, blood loss followed by blatant disregard for blood loss, implausible eye gouging, bad child actors.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ / Movie: ★
James Turner is a writer and musician based in Sheffield. You can follow him on Twitter @JTAuthor