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Arrow Video Frightfest 2018: He’s Out There review

Yvonne Strahovski leads this nearly plotless trope ticker of a horror film.

He's Out There
Credit: Screen Gems

Laura (Yvonne Strahovski) takes her daughters Kayla (Anna Pniowsky) and Maddie (Abigail Pniowsky) on vacation to a remote lake house. Waiting for her husband Shawn (Justin Bruening) to arrive, Laura becomes concerned when her youngest daughter Maddie falls ill. After a bit of persuading, she finally discovers Maddie has eaten a cupcake she found in the woods. Freaked out, Laura tries to flee with her daughters but a masked menace has other plans, forcing the family back into the house to fight for their lives.

He’s Out There is yet another entry into the home invasion genre (kind of) but with Yvonne Strahovski at the helm, I had high hopes that this may be something fresh and new. Sadly that didn’t turn out to be the case and He’s Out There was a bit of a mess with an underwhelming villain and a complete lack of plot. The film is fairly tense but it tries to scare you without actually doing very much. For most of the duration, the villain just stalks around the outside of the house.

He's Out There

Credit: Screen Gems

The film’s biggest problem is the complete lack of story for the villain. Looking like a cross between Leatherface and Jason Vorhees, there appears to be absolutely no rhyme or reason as to why he’s terrorising the family. I patiently waited for an elaborate explanation but it never came so by the time the film ended, I wondered what the point had been. There needs to be some context for the antagonist but He’s Out There decided not to bother giving him any.

Another odd choice was the way the film was handled in post-production. The colours appeared very washed out and it just didn’t look very good. Perhaps on a small screen it may look fine but on a huge cinema screen, it looked pretty terrible. It seemed to be an artistic choice but it’s not one that worked in the film’s favour.

He's Out There

Credit: Screen Gems

Strahovski, who is normally very reliable, does the best job she can with poor material here. There’s no development for her character and all she gets given to do is run around looking scared. The Pniowsky sisters, who play Strahovski’s daughters, get similarly treated and have little to do other than scream. Justin Bruening (Grey’s Anatomy) is completely wasted and I’m a little baffled as to why he bothered signing on. He’s a very capable actor and he’s above this kind of material.

He’s Out There is unfortunately not a good movie. It’s true there are some effective and tense moments but overall there’s not a great deal to get excited about. I feel like I’ve seen this kind of film too many times and He’s Out There doesn’t add anything new. It’s a lazy trope ticking horror with an underwhelming villain and a plot so thin there’s nothing to hook you or may you care about anything that unfolds.

Cast: Yvonne Strahovski, Justin Bruening, Anna Pniowsky Director: Quinn Lasher Writer: Mike Scannell Certificate: TBC Duration: 89 mins Released by: Screen Gems

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