13th Sep2018

Frightfest 2018: ‘He’s Out There’ Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Yvonne Strahovski, Anna Pniowsky, Abigail Pniowsky, Ryan McDonald, Justin Bruening, Julian Bailey, Stephanie Costa | Written by Mike Scannell | Directed by Quinn Lasher

hes-out-there-art

My last Frightfest 2018 review for Nerdly comes in the form of a home invasion/slasher style horror movie titled simply, He’s Out There. The set-up of which will feel very familiar to genre fans.

A family (Mother, father and two young children) visit the cabin in the woods (to be fair it’s a pretty big house in the woods) that they go to every year. Only this year they are terrorized by a mystery psychopath. But don’t dismiss He’s Out There just because you feel like you’ve seen it all before because it has plenty to offer even hardened horror fans.

The reason this is scarier than alot of home invasion movies is because the children are a major target for most of the movie. The mum is with them for the majority of the film but to see two young girls terrified and screaming because someone is trying to kill them and their mother just makes things a whole lot scary. Maybe it’s because I now have a daughter but it definitely added an edge to He’s Out There that similar films don’t have.

There’s a lot of running from one room to another, inside and outside but the main character Laura (Yvonne Strahovski) does at least make sensible decisions (for the most part – I’m not sure living the children so often was a great idea but it was when she felt she had no other choice). They do try to drive away, they do try contact people and they do try to just stay in one place as much as possible. But eventually the killer does get to them. And once again, one scene in particular which involved the killer and the two daughters is incredibly tense and frightening.

He’s Out There has a creepy, sometimes harsh-sounding score which is as dark as what is happening on screen. The director chooses not to over do it with the gore, which is a good choice because when it does feature it means so much more. Not only that but the gore effects are very very good, looking as brutal and painful as they would actually be.

Strahovski is the most well known of the cast (Dexter, The Handmaid’s Tale) and she’s a good choice to lead most the movie. She’s believable as a woman who will do anything for her children. The children themselves, played by real life sisters Abigail and Anna Pniowsky, do very well, even if for most the movie they are ill or running scared, screaming and crying!

The only major downfall with He’s Out There is that nothing is really explained when it comes to the killer and why he is doing these things. The movie gives us a loose explanation but doesn’t cover half of the stuff that happens. I wasn’t too bothered by this – not every killer needs reasoning – but I can definitely see why it would annoy some people.

That said, I very much enjoyed He’s Out There. It’s not adding much new to the home invasion genre but it’s entertaining, gory and most importantly scary. A great achievement for first time director Quinn Lasher.

**** 4/5

He’s Out There screened at Arrow Video Frightfest on Sunday August 27th 2018. The film comes to DVD on Spetember 24th from 101 Films.

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