He's Out There Movie Review
Written by Joel Harley
Released by Unbroken Pictures
Directed by Quinn Lasher
Written by Mike Scannell
2018, 86 minutes, Not Yet Rated
Frightfest European premiere on 28th August 2018
Yvonne Strahovski as Laura
Justin Bruening as Shawn
Stephanie Costa as Clerk
Abigail Pniowski as Maddie
Who's out there? Whoever – or whatever – he is, he's hiding in the woods, menacing a woman and her two young kids, a cross between Jason Voorhees and one of The Strangers. Holidaying at her remote lake house, Mom Laura (a de-glamourised Yvonne Strahovski) faces a fight for survival when a masked psychopath takes a shine to her and the kids.
There are shades of The Babadook to the film's setup as it (very) slowly transitions from unsettling spookhouser to more traditional home invasion movie. In spite of the creepy children's book and bizarre hand-carved sculptures in the woods, there's not a great deal more than meets the eye to than this combination of Hush and You're Next. The second half does hold a few minor surprises though, and fans of the home invasion subgenre should find something to enjoy.
Not least, its monstrous villain, stalking through the woods, menacing Laura and the kids through cool costume design and a menacing performance. Strahovski is a strong lead, appropriately vulnerable and tough in defence of her kids against... whoever he is. Between them, they keep the film afloat through its hodgepodge setup, duller moments and clichéd filler.
But never mind the mysterious He, hiding Out There – the real question is that of the film's director. Originally credited to Dennis Iliadis (of dubious The Last House on the Left remake 'fame'), the film (first written in 2014, under the title Scarecrow) was scheduled for a November 2017 release before suddenly disappearing. Now it's back, with somebody called 'Quinn Lasher' as the credited director. One suspects that Alan Smithee might have been busy.
Whatever happened behind the scenes, He's Out There is here, and it mostly hangs together well. There's a sense during the slow-build setup that this was originally a completely different beast, which leads to a confused, disjointed feel. However, the second half is just entertaining enough that it works. It's never quite the nasty, scary home invasion movie it wants to be, nor whatever the first half is supposed to be, but it gets the job done. Bravo, 'Quinn Lasher', whoever you are.