There’s Nothing Out There (1991)

This one veers dangerously close to being a cult classic.

Ignored on its original release, it managed to generate just enough interest for Troma Films to eventually buy the rights and re-release it.  Some have argued that it is, in fact, the first teen horror film in which the characters have seen other teen horror films and try to avoid the mistakes everyone makes in these sorts of films, as it predates Scream by a good five years (and a recent documentary actually tries to prove that Wes Craven stole his film from this one, not that it is at all likely).  They’ve obviously fogotten The Deadly Spawn, from 1983, but certainly it is this notion that lifts this film above the average teen slasher film of the era.

Although I suspect that this film may have gone even further down that road than Scream ever dared, as it hints – no, more like slaps us in the face with it, like a severed alien tentacle – that they all might really be nothing but characters in a horror film (a notion emphasized by a particularly wacky fourth wall gag involving a boom mike that accidentally got into the shot).

The situation, naturally, is very familiar, with the usual overaged “teens” going off to a remote cabin for spring break, where, naturally, they encounter a murderous alien creature.  Some reviewers have dismissed the last half of the film with a shrug, as nothing more than routine, yet the cleverness of the script continues, with a constant string of absurd little notions.  I mean, how many movies have you seen with a stupid alien?  or in which it’s Achilles’ heel is a personal care product?  I particularly enjoyed the twist on the classic “it’s all starting all over again” ending, which plays out with perfect comic timing.

All in all, this is a solid, consistently funny little film which deserved a lot more attention than it ever got.

Hopefully Troma will change that.



2 thoughts on “There’s Nothing Out There (1991)

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