Hulu just added No Exit to their exclusive horror roster, and it’s a tense, twisty addition to my recommended winter horror playlist.
No Exit opens by introducing us to Darby (Havana Rose Liu), a young woman in rehab for the umpteenth time. In her group session, Darby proves herself to be cynical about her chances of permanent recovery, and then she is called out of the group to take a phone call from her sister, who tells her that their mother is about to undergo surgery.
Darby ends up ditching rehab and stealing a car to get to where her mother and sister are, despite the fact that sis wants her to stay away. They don’t need her unnecessary drama with everything else going on.
As it turns out, a really bad snowstorm is approaching the area Darby is driving through, and she is forced to take refuge in a roadside visitor center with a handful of strangers. There is Ed (Dennis Haysbert) and his wife Sandi (Dale Dickey), the good-looking and easy-going Ash (Danny Ramirez) and a weird guy named Lars (David Rysdahl).
With the snow and wind whipping up outside, there is nothing else for the group to do except play cards, and while doing so, they all learn a little about one another. Mostly, they learn that Lars has a volatile temper and that Ed is former military and enjoys gambling.
When Darby steps out into the storm to try and reach her sister by cell phone, she sees a van in the parking lot. After peering into the icy window, she sees a young girl inside the van, bound and gagged, and that’s when the pace of No Exit really picks up.
Obviously, the van belongs to one of the people inside the visitors center; but which one? As Darby tries to figure out the answer to that question and save the girl (named Jay), we are taken along for a twisty ride.
The players in No Exit are all very good, which goes a long way in a film like this one.
Havana Rose Liu is a strong actress, and her portrayal of Darby makes it hard to believe that this is her feature film debute.
Dennis Haysbert is an actor with a distinctive, deep voice, and you probably know him from his Allstate commercials and the series 24 and The Unit. He gives Ed a persuasive reading, and Dale Dickey as his wife is good as well.
David Rysdahl is legit creepy as Lars, and yet he somehow makes us feel a little sorry for the creep by the end of the film. Danny Ramirez’s Ash is an amiable, friendly guy, and Mila Harris makes us really feel for Jay, a kid in crisis if there ever was one.
No Exit is based on Taylor Adams’ 2017 novel of the same name, and I remember reading it and thinking it would make a great film. It’s very intense, and doesn’t shy away from the violence. Let’s just say there are a couple of sequences featuring a nail gun that had me squirming on my couch.
If you enjoyed Hulu offerings like Run and The Act, (as I did), give No Exit a watch, you will probably like it as well.
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