There's Nothing Out There (1992)
WRITER: Rolfe Kanefsky
DIRECTOR: Rolfe Kanefsky
STARRING: Craig Peck as Mike
Wendy Bednarz as Doreen
Mark Collver as Jim
Bonnie Bowers as Stacy
John Carhart III as Nick
Claudia Flores as Janet
Jeff Dachis as David
Lisa Grant as Sally
QUICK CUT: What's your favourite scary movie? A group of teens get hunted down by a gruesome killer while being very aware of the rules of horror movies, and that they may well be in one at this very moment. And no, this is not Scream.
Mike - The man who has watched every horror movie ever, and knows the rules and cliches by heart. Picture me, but better looking, and able to use his trivial knowledge for something useful.
Nick - Mike's best friend, who puts up with Mike's quirky love of horror movies. Up to a point. And that point is when it starts to annoy his girlfriend.
Stacy - Nick's girlfriend who is not a horror fan, and has little patience for Mike's antics.
Jim - Stock jock, but with a deeper side of actually being a nice guy. Unless people are gonna get in the way of him and his girlfriend.
Doreen - Jim's girlfriend, who is the typical dumb blonde, and frequent target of cabbage like aliens.
David - The glasses wearing nerd of the group, again from stereotype ville. And it's sad that even in a movie with a guy that has an encyclopedia like knowledge of horror movies, it is someone else that's the geek.
Janet - David's girlfriend from Brazil. Good luck understanding a word she says.
THE GUTS: The movie starts off in some video store, when a guy we don't really see walks in, grabs a movie off the shelf, and tosses it on the counter. The cashier girl looks up and sees nothing. He either ducked behind one of the racks of VHS tapes wicked fast, or he's wearing the Nailgunner's special camoflage, because this guy is gone.
The girl looks for the video tape and just as she's about to pull it out, the guy's arm shoots out from behind the racks with the rental tapes. But isn't there a wall there? Even if there was a hole, he knew about it, ran around when she somehow wasn't looking after he got her attention, and ducked behind the shelving?
Anyways, she runs, falls, and crawls away backwards from her pursuer, now well and able to see him. There has to be a better way to get away from a guy than scooting backwards on your butt. Oh, and she looks right into the camera and smiles. Repeatedly. Oh yeah, this is gonna be a ride.
The guy grabs handfuls of spare tape, torn out from the casettes, that the store just had hanging around, and covers the girl in it. The video store gets in on the fun and throws the boxes on its shelves at her too, until she gets her camera-staring butt out of there.
She trips off the stairs out back, with the loose tape guts caught in the TOP of the door, hanging herself and...oh wait no, it was all just a dream. Ignore all my mocking. Unless you thought it was funny. She wakes up behind the wheel of her car and flies off the road, literally. Hopefully she's still dead.
Sigh, nope. Just doing some late night dozing off-roading. But she managed to live. Oh well.
The girl looks at the state of daddy's car, and thinks he's going to kill her. Oh, if only. Nothing's killed her yet. But wait, there may yet be salvation as a glowing booger falls from space and lands next to her. Which she mistakes for a falling cloud. Wait...what? Those aren't exactly, y'know, common. Or real.
She stares at the puddle the cloud fell into, and tentacles shoot out of it, which fortunately hit onto a very quickly rolled up window. Man, how much danger can this one girl get into, so fast?
Finally the suckers break through and get the girl. I think. This may yet be another dream.
Once the surprisingly well done credits dump us out of the time vortex, we land in a high school hallway. Eventually we wander into a classroom with a typically inattentive class is counting the seconds to spring break. Literally.
A group of students decide the movie should rip off the plot of Evil Dead and head out into a cabin in the woods for their spring break vacation. What could possibly go wrong?
I love the driving montage that is supposed to make things look like a long drive, but when you get creative and have the car going in both directions in successive shots? It just makes it look like your kids are lost, not driving to the middle of nowhere.
The gang drive by the site of video girl's accident, and the falling cloud looks like it upended her car after it sucker punched all the windows. And ha! There's no body! I've read enough comics, she ain't dead. Or just mostly dead.
One of the kids is apparently a horror fan, and is keenly aware of just what sort of movie he's in. He recognises that what they've just driven by is a warning, and they should turn back now before whatever is in the woods comes for them. LISTEN TO THIS MAN.
He continues to complain as they arrive at the cabin, still very much aware of just what an empty cabin in the woods represents. I hope he's the only one who survives. Or at least lives longer than half these people.
As Mike sees something moving in the woods and wisely decides not to investigate and run into the killer, the requisite stoner van arrives. With enough smoke pouring out of it that I think the engine may actually be dead more than they're smoking pot.
These guys...they defy description. Think of every stoner punk stereotype that doesn't include tie dyed shirts, and I think it is represented here. Piercings, leather, animal prints, bad fashion sense. Geeze. And I don't think they understand skinny dipping does not mean keeping half your clothes on.
After the stoners get told this is not the camp they're looking for, they agree to go off to their own corner of the movie. And again, Mike is right with me, in that those kids were born to be murder victims. I love when the movie and me are on the same side.
Dumb blonde Doreen jumps into the shower before dinner, which everyone mocks her for, and that just flags up how out of place it is. And really, it is only there to have two minutes of naked, wet flesh on the screen. Which would be fine, if we didn't just have the stoner chicks skinny dipping.
Nick sends Mike out to get some firewood, which Mike is none to keen about doing. What with knowing he's in a horror movie. He points out a random Indian sweat lodge on the property and...ok, what? Where did that come from? It looks like a cheap tent they bought at Wal-Mart. The geeky guy heads over there to check it out, since they're rumoured to increase sexual potency. Or chance of death. And it is never seen again.
Meanwhile, Doreen hasn't been naked enough in the last five minutes, she drags Jim into the bathroom and drops her towel some more. This is getting silly.
They finally get a chance to namecheck the movie over dinner, when Mike says there's something out there, and they all disagree. I sense this will be a running gag.
There's one theory that it might be a bear, until they hear something in the kitchen. Well, Doreen still thinks it's a bear. In the kitchen. Squeezing through the tiny, human sized doors.
Mike sees the green slime on the pan that the chicken used to be in, and again insists they do the smart thing and go on lockdown. And people are starting to agree with him, finally.
And again Doreen is trying to get naked with Jim, not five seconds after worrying about a bear in the kitchen. Good gods, movie.
David and Janet heads off to a walk in the woods, and Jim and Doreen head out to swim in the pond. Which makes Mike make one of the first actual facepalms I've seen in a horror movie. I'm right there with ya, pal.
While Janet and David wander out into the woods, she tries to tell him a horror story in a horribly mushy accent that's been driving me buggy all movie long. I swear, she's Kenny's mom. I have no idea what she's saying, ever.
Fortunately David translates the salient points, and they're going for dramatic irony, with the people in the story being too preoccupied to notice something or someone is stalking them. So guess what happens to these two?
If you guessed, "David trips and faceplants into the dirt and loses his flashlight," then you guessed right! The hilarity of them trying to find the flashlight when they're brightly lit for the cameras is not lost on me, either.
The creature pounces on David and chews him to pieces, but not after it randomly yanks off Janet's skirt. I am really trying hard to avoid any icky jokes about manga tentacles, but this movie is making it very difficult. Janet runs while her boyfriend gets munched on, and runs right into a tree. Even the forest is out to get them. But we'll get back to killer trees later.
Mike is still trying to stop Doreen and Jim from going for their late night swim, and Jim promises to go look for the others after swimming. Which Mike rightly points out will just be one big fuck up after another. He at least gets through to Doreen by reminding her of the potential for bears. And that sharks like the water. Yes, Doreen. There are sharks in a pond in the middle of the woods.
Nick and Stacy head upstairs to bed, and Mike realises he's all alone, in a horror movie. He quickly barricades himself into a room, and even nails shut the window. No one noticed the sound of his midnight carpentry? Eh, probably the least offensive thing to logic in this movie so far.
While the two are out skinny dipping, real skinny dipping this time! Nick and Stacy get disrobed in their bedroom. I guess they could think Mike's hammering was their headboard. And I think four naked people at once might be a record for Trisk.
Back in the pond, Jim and Doreen are nicely oblivious to the creature... Oh...I... Ok, now that I'm done laughing loud enough to wake the neighbours, the creature ran over a rake and got hit in the face, stunning it and making it yelp. Yes, it actually got hit with a rake. I...can't believe they did that.
After hearing the creature get rake-faced, the swimmers head back home where the other couple is pounding away upstairs and keeping Mike awake. The creature runs around with more Raimi-cam outside, and we see it stop and slowly avoid a rake. Ha.
Once more, by the fire, Doreen takes her clothes BACK off for MORE sex. I may need to go back and see if she is naked more than she actually wears clothes. We've moved past silly and are reaching ludicrous speed.
While the critter from the planet Voyeur watches them from the couch, Mike sneaks out of his room quietly to get a snack, but not before he gears up, just in case Michael Meyers is lurking. With some crazily heroic music to try and sell his armour. Which is promptly interupted by creaking bedsprings.
Jim and Doreen on the floor is made all the more hilarious that they can't get Jim's pants off. They've been off more than the milk in my fridge, and now they get stuck. But it's a moot point when Doreen sees the creature watching them and that kills the mood. Jim misses it, and all he sees is Mike in his getup, and thinks he's what interrupted his bedroom games.
He's quite pissed at the interruption, and jumps at Mike. And literally flies over his head. Bahahaha. Made all the more funny when he lands on a rug and skids into the wall. Thank gods this movie is not taking itself seriously, because I sure ain't.
The two guys run around and fight, and it is a joy to watch. The choreography is laughable, but meant to be so. This fight is straight up for laughs, and it delivers. They fly through the air, whiz along on a wheeled cart, Jim punches the hockey mask and falls down stairs. Great, light stuff, and a nice point in the movie to drop some real humour in, and not their tongue in cheek stuff up to this point.
As those two wrap it up and get Nick and Stacy to come downstairs, Doreen gets attacked in the basement by the creature. Still, no one really believes Mike's claims that there's something. Oh, and he's understandably paranoid about going into the dark basement, yes.
Stacy finally has enough of Mike's crap and tears into his paranoia, until a cat falls from the ceilling of the basement. Wait, what? Where did that come from?? Seriously, it just fell from the sky into her arms! And Mike agrees with me, pointing out exactly that. Stop scooping my review!
And for his trouble, Mike gets locked in the basement. He's either in the best spot, or the worst. Probably the worst.
Yeah, worst. The creature waits all of five seconds before attacking Mike. Oh well. He had a good run. At least he bashes it with a pipe before the screen goes black. He might've made it, since we don't see anything!
I love that it cuts from that to pretty, idyllic shots of the surrounding area the next day, to peaceful, tranquil music. That's not jarring at all.
Nick heads outside to check around, or get some fresh air, or something. On the way, he too steps on the rake and gets whacked in the arm. Oh, and there's more green slime there, too. Someone really ought to put that thing away before someone gets hurt.
The sinks aren't working, so Nick goes down to check the pipes. Oh yeah, and let Mike out. But mostly that first one. The basement is slightly flooded thanks thanks to Mike tearing it out to headbash the critter, but there's no sign of either of them now.
Someone finally remembers the other couple that never came back, and Jim thinks this is all part of Mike's revenge for locking him up. Yes, he made David and Janet disappear hours before he had any reason to do so!
While Nick drives into town to find a plumber, the two campers who aren't recovering from an alien creature attack head to the pond, where Stacy finds more snot on the rocks. It must be cold and flu season.
Jim tries to console Doreen, but gets attacked by the cabbage from outer space, the screams drawing Stacy back to the house. The thing starts shooting green lasers from its eyes at people, while bashing Jim to the wall with a tentacle. So at least it can multitask.
Stacy runs away after getting blasted, but the thing eats off a doorknob. She jumps out a window rather than get caught and manages to jump far enough away from the house to land in the middle of the pond. Hot damn.
She climbs out of the pond, and yay! Mike's alive! And finally, people believe him. I guess being shot at from a tentacled head of lettuce will do that.
The creature flails at Mike and Stacy, but fortunately it's limbs are easily tied into a knot around the tree. That's one way to take care of it, I guess.
Mike and Stacy run back to the house and check on the couple who can't stop having sex, and Doreen miraculously has managed to not die yet. Jim, on the other hand...
The movie veers dangerously close to tentacle rape again with a racing camera shot towards Stacy's crotch, but she flips the creature over her head right into Mike's waiting wire cutters, and gets batted around a bit while the trio try and escape.
The girls try and figure out what's going on and catch up to Mike, but he's just interested in escaping, rather than the cabbage's resume and background. Mike tries to use his movie knowledge, and Stacy asks him if he thinks they're really in a movie.
And Mike says it is actually a possibility, and looks in the camera. That sound you hear is the fourth wall being bulldozed.
They figure out the green slime is the creature's saliva, softening things up before dinner. Doreen is trying to not freak out anymore than she already is, and Mike is now saying they need to figure this thing out. What happened to screw information, let's escape? He does bring up the good point that the thing did not slime the girls.
Speaking of girls, it turns out she of the missing skirt and horrendously thick accent is also still alive. I suspect I can guess where this is going. And Mike is right there with me. Damnit again!
Janet makes her way back to the house, and the others warn her away from the window of their barricaded room. But in typical movie fashion, she declares she is unable to walk, and falls to the ground. After walking who knows how far through the woods to get back there. Sigh.
Against Mike's recommendation, Doreen and Stacy rush outside to grab Janet and drag her inside. Stacy tries to use the phone, but Doreen's eyes flash green with envy, and she smashes the phone with a handy baseball bat. The two struggle with the bat and fight out onto the deck while Janet is groped by the cabbage creature.
Stacy tries to help Janet, but is horrified by the sight of a green lump of plastic trying to get past the girl's panties, giving the possessed Doreen enough time to clock her over the head with the bat.
Mike finally decides to show up and use the only weapon that has proven effective against the thing. Well, besides the rake. He fills its mouth with shaving cream again, and it skitters off to mope on the roof like Gambit. Unfortunately, they still have the crazed Doreen to deal with (who took a bat to Janet's head and killed her, for some reason).
Doreen grabs Stacy from behind, but Stacy rushes for the glass patio doors, and tosses the green eyed monster through them, getting her off her back. Doreen lays there on the doorframe for a moment too long, as the remaining glass from above comes crashing down and slices her head clean off. Nice.
Mike has the brilliant idea to use the car to get away, even though that never works in horror movies, yet he is rather surprised to find he missed the memo about Nick taking off to find a plumber. With their method of escape handily removed, they head to the basement to get ready for the next attack.
Once in the basement, Mike realises he can't lock the door from that side, so goes back out to nail it shut, amidst Stacy asking stupid questions. Mike gives some great sarcastic replies. I quite like Mike. Hooray for sarcasm.
Mike's optimism shines through as he draws parallels to Invasion of the Body Snatchers, until he remembers they didn't actually defeat the monsters in that one.
Nick finally returns after the people under the stairs come up with the plan to confuse the creature into beating itself up long enough for them to get close and hit it with an axe or something else appropriate. Oh please, let this plan involve a field full of rakes.
They rush to get the boards off the window so they can warn Nick of the creature he's about to run into, but he finds out pretty quick on his own. Oh, and the cat is still around, just sitting there watching. Stupid, lazy cats.
Nick grabs the cat and uses it as a weapon, throwing it at the cabbage, but the cat runs away before it can really do anything. Then...
Wait, did that just happen??
Oh holy crap. Nick stands up, and the boom mike falls into frame. And this is no mere error. Nick grabs it, and uses it to flip over the creature and run out the broken back door. All to a riff of Indiana Jones music. Oh my, that was awesomely wrong.
Unfortunately, his gymnastic skills end there as he runs into and flips over the deck railing onto his back, right into the path of the other two looking for him. He looks back up at the house, wondering what that was. In my head, he's wondering why his house has a boom mike and studio lights, not the creature.
They pile into the car and try to escape, but the thing becomes the worst hood ornament ever and comes along for the ride. Nick's driving isn't that great as he crashes left and right, and it's not made any easier by the cabbage patch kid flashing green lasers all over the place.
Mike gets rid of it by reflecting its lasers back into its own eyes, but it is too little too late, as the car crashes into the pond. So much for escape.
The plumber runs out of the woods in the shortest appearance ever, as he gets one line out before the creature strangles him and breaks his neck. Back to England with you!
Mike and friends rush back to the house and they start work on his plan. They gather up as many mirrors, flashlights, and light bulbs as they can. Since we've already brought in the boom mike, why not the studio lighting too? At this point, it's not a stretch.
Cue the gathering of equipment montage!
After his plumber crack snack, the creature sees a light shining and goes to investigate. Oh, I play this game with my cats all the time!
They lead the thing all around the house with reflected light, distracting sounds from smashing lightbulbs, and shaving cream. Mike shines some light on the wall, and the cabbage starts pawing at it. This IS just like playing with my cats.
After Mike gives it another face full of cream, they lose track of it, until it grabs Stacy's leg. But she cuts off the thing's tentacle with the bolt cutters. Y'know, she may not be the brightest person on the planet, and she may have spent half this movie in a bikini, but she's held her own pretty well. She's flipped this thing around, took out Doreen, cut off a tentacle, and generally been a pretty strong figure. And a bikini for half the movie is still better than Doreen's nakedness for half the movie.
The creature chases after Nick's reflection, and gets tricked into the stove, where it slowly bakes to a nice golden brown. And forget everything I said about Stacy just now, since she blows it all by tripping on broken lightbulbs, and is dragged towards the oven when the cabbage breaks the glass on the door and grabs her.
And then things get worse when she looks into its eyes and becomes enthralled. So now they have two problems to worry about.
She goes after Nick with a knife, while Mike does his best to keep the creature in the oven. Fortunately, it can't squeeze out the window in the door, and it eventually bursts into flames, in a truly spectacular conflagration of fireworks.
Our heroes escape to the plumber's van and drive off, after Nick smashes a window to set off the alarm, which will bring the cops there in 30 minutes. Mike and I are both pissed that was all they had to do to bring real professionals with real guns to the scene of the problem.
But we're not done yet. On their drive out, the video store girl from the top of the movie stops the van and gets a ride. Unfortunately, they don't know who she is until after she gets in the van. Once they piece it together though, they waste no time throwing her right back out of the van to fend for herself. That's using your brains.
Video: Pretty good, actually. It's low budget at its best. Clean, sharp, and fuzzy in just the right ways for something from 1990.
Audio: Also good. A nice 5.1 mix that surrounds you nicely with the skittering creature in the shadows.
Special Features: I watched the recent 20th anniversary release, and it is packed. Two discs, two commentaries, behind the scenes featurettes, lost footage, bloopers, casting footage, and commentary on most of that too. There's a few short films by the writer/director too. And I'm probably forgetting stuff as well. This release had tons of stuff for fans of the film. You'll even learn about what the sequel would have entailed.
First Blood: It seems like that's five minutes in with Sally in the car by tentacle rape, but instead we wait 20 more minutes for David to buy it in the woods.
Best Line: "Where's Jim??" "Jim's in the other room melting right now." "Is he dead?" "Yes, melting is another indication of death." Stacy and Mike. And Mike's dripping sarcasm totally sells the line. I love sarcasm.
Best Kill: Defenestration decapitation! Doreen's death is one of my faves in a long time. It's a bit on the nose once she smashes through the window, yet so satisfying.
Blood Type - C: There's a lot of deaths, but the movie is pretty bloodless. Fun deaths, but nothing to them. There's more green than red.
Sex Appeal: Doreen. Can't keep her clothes on. Need I say more? Pretty much the entire cast, including walk ons, get topless. Except the plumber. Enjoy!
Movie Rating: Well...this is an odd one. In all honesty, it's as much a comedy as a horror movie, so you can't be too harsh on the plot holes. It's not meant to make perfect sense. The jokes come second, but only to the scares. It's not quite funny enough to be really a good comedy, and it's not quite scary enough to be a good horror. But there are good ones of both, it just has some issues striking that balance, and for me it just misses clicking. It manages to be an ok blending of the two genres though, and exists as a fine example of either. And it's well written, made, but has some mixed acting. Three out of five green eyed girls.
Entertainment Value: But as usual, the entertainment value is sky high. I have to say, I kinda love this movie. It IS funny, it has some good kills, and what I expected to be an eye rolling horror movie quickly drew me in once I realised we're supposed to be laughing along with it. And I straight up love Mike. This is everything I look for from a movie for Trisk. It's cheap, it's cheesy, it knows it, and I love it. It's a little TOO funny to really be a horror though, and doesn't quite fit the site's usual fare, but it is great fun anyways, and anyone visiting this site should watch it. Four out of five cans of shaving cream.
Fun Fact: That stoner in the orange beret? He's gone on to become a pretty big Hollywood writer. You might remember a little movie he did called Robin Hood. Or Kung Fu Panda. I kid you not.