Friday, November 10, 2023

Movie Review: NO EXIT (2022)

Reviewed by: Josh "The Merc" Raynor

As someone who has read the book by Taylor Adams (which is fantastic, go read it right now!), I really wasn’t a fan of this movie. I feel like if I hadn’t read it, I probably would’ve enjoyed it a bit more, but that’s not the case here. But even then, it wouldn’t have blown me away because the actually filmmaking and storytelling taking place here was severely lacking.

No Exit tells the story of a group of people stranded at an empty visitor center during a blizzard. While searching for cell service, Darby discovers there’s a young girl tied up in a van out in the parking lot. She must figure out who the kidnapper is and save this little girl before it’s too late.

While keeping the basic premise the same, the movie changed some major points from the book. It dulled down the death scenes, left out some of the best action moments, and stripped pretty much all the character development and backstory out of it. It was also way too fast paced. It felt like they were beholden to this hour and a half runtime, so they took the main story points and just plucked those out and jammed them all together. Because of this, there was basically zero tension.

Havana Rose Liu did a great job for the role she was given as Darby, but this character was so far away from the version in the book that it just didn’t play the same. I didn’t have anywhere near the sympathy for her that it did while reading, and the same goes for Jay. They used one specific scene to make her seem very unlikable while trying to build sympathy for one of the kidnappers. And honestly, that was a bad move, as it just made me care less for those characters. 

I think they did a good job casting the rest of these characters, especially Lars and Ash (who, in the book, actually hates being called Ash and insists on people using his full name, Ashley). The two of them were basically how I imagined them looking. The only problem is that they altered or stripped out too much of who they are and what made them interesting.

I also want to mention Dennis Haysbert, who played Ed. I really liked the changes they made for this character, but only because the film needed someone to fill in as somewhat of a hero, since they took that aspect away from Darby. I also found it hilarious that in both the film and the book, Ed was a vet — a veteran in the film, and a veterinarian in the book.

I totally understand that you have to change things when adapting a book to film, as some things just don’t translate as well to screen, but when you strip the heart and soul out of a story, it just ruins it and makes it not worth watching. That’s exactly what happened here. So, do yourself a favor and just go pick up the book and read that. I guarantee you’ll be far more satisfied.

The Merc's Score: 4/10



No comments:

Post a Comment