Year: 2011
Director(s): Jack Heller
Writers: Shawn Christensen, Jason Dolan
Region of Origin: U.S.
Aspect Ratio: ?
Rating: Unrated
Digital, Color, ? mins

Synopsis: Three strangers arrive one by one at a mysterious cabin in the middle of nowhere only to learn they’ve been brought together for a reason. (Source)

No trailer available yet.

I like being surprised by a movie, especially when I go into seeing it completely cold and knowing nothing. Enter Nowhere surprised me in a good way, and it’s already one of the standouts at Screamfest this year because it’s the only movie that isn’t…. well, a traditional screamfest. While I can see how it definitely falls under the blanket of “horror”, it really plays more like a much appreciated extended episode of The Twilight Zone, replete with it’s apt and self-promoted shades of LOST. First time director Jack Heller does the most with his source material, to deliver something that’s both consistently engaging and suspenseful throughout, despite being spread a bit thin.

The main aspect of this movie is it’s mystery, and by all accounts it’s one of those types of stories where the less you know the better, so I’m going to try and be as vague as possible. The main concept is that four strangers who are completely different and lost, all converge upon the same cabin in the woods. Jody (Sara Paxton) is one-half of a misplaced Bonnie & Clyde/Sid & Nancy petty thief duo, Tom (Scott Eastwood) is an average joe who is outwardly nice, but may have spotty intentions, Samantha (Katherine Waterston) is an expecting mother, who’s husband’s just disappeared after their car’s run out of gas, and the less you know about the fourth stranger, the better (trust me). The driving mystery is to find out who these people really are, and what their differences and similarities mean to each other and their survival. No one can seem to remember how they got there, let alone have the strength or necessities to cultivate an exodus in the setting’s cold and harsh weather (the cabin seems to be literally in the middle of nowhere), and in the cabin, there’s a broken ham radio.

The movie’s strength is that despite some iffy logic, the leads remain interesting enough in tandem with the story’s slow and gradual reveals. It’s fast paced, and while the characters aren’t completely lovable, they’re by no means annoying, keeping your investment for the duration of their conflict. I could also appreciate the tiny bits of humor sprinkled throughout that changed up the mood to keep it from getting monotonous, and was continually surprised by the movie’s ability to switch things up despite it’s thin concept. At first I was guessing that the story would build to a Sartre-type No Exit thriller (which it does flirt with) but it’s more supernatural Serling/Matheson-esque characteristics, are just as interesting. Finally, while I liked the movie’s complete minimalist foundation, the visual style seemed a bit bland for my taste, and the ending is just way too neat, almost belittling the more grey and ambiguous concepts and themes that the story’s built up.

All in all, it was a good but not great change of pace from the numerous slashers and gore-fests for that week, and will play well to the aforementioned LOST, Twilight Zone crowd, as long as they can overlook some of the gaps in logic and inherent silliness in the overall concept. I do like it’s old fashioned mentality, and it gets points for attempting something different.

Crome Rating: 3/5

SG