‘No One Gets Out Alive’ Review: Seeking Shelter, Finding Terror

When Ambar (Cristina Rodlo) arrives in Cleveland after being smuggled into the United States, she needs a place to stay that won’t ask questions. So she turns to an all-female boardinghouse with the basic amenities: apparitions. Flickering lights. A live-in landlord and the creepy, bulked-up brother he neglected to mention. Strange sounds emanating from the plumbing.

“No One Gets Out Alive,” directed by Santiago Menghini, is now circling the drain on Netflix, where few will watch it intentionally and those who never find it won’t be missing much. Even seeing it, in a literal sense, is difficult: The imagery crosses the line that separates “atmospherically dark” from “murk.”

Directed by Santiago Menghini, whose background in visual effects has not helped him mount convincing ones here, the movie grafts standard horror-movie tropes onto a portrait of the struggles of undocumented immigrants in America. Ambar, who has a grueling job as a garment worker and is desperate to cobble together money for a fake I.D., has no nowhere to go but a haunted house.

Still, the movie has not bothered to connect its ideas. While explanations in horror are overrated, not one but two prologues — the first styled as 8-millimeter footage shot in Mexico in 1963, the second depicting the demise of a pre-Ambar boarder — go unaddressed in any meaningful way. Nor does the movie provide more than a cursory reason for why what it implies are ancient Meso-American rituals are being practiced in a Cleveland basement.

No One Gets Out Alive
Rated R. Violence and gore. Running time: 1 hour 25 minutes. Watch on Netflix.

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