Saturday, October 8, 2011

There's Nothing Out There (1992)

One of the characters in Wes Craven's classic "Scream" that sticks out the most is Randy, played by Jamie Kennedy. Here was a guy who was a lot like others who've watched a bunch of horror movies-he knew the rules of the genre. Some hate the character and the movie, but whatever. So, why am I bringing this up? Because Rolfe Kanefsky made his directorial debut with "There's Nothing Out There", which did the "guy knows the rules of horror" thing before "Scream", though I doubt it was an influence on that movie.

You know the plot-seven teens go to a cabin in the woods, only to run into a monster-in this case a beast that looks like a giant tadpole with teeth. So, whose their only hope? Why it's Mike (Craig Peck), whose seen a whole lot of horror movies, and knows the rules.

"There's Nothing Out There" is largely considered to be Kanefsky's best movie, and it's easy to see why when you consider the fact that he's since recycled the "young people go up against inhuman evil" movie twice afterwards with "The Hazing" and "Nightmare Man". Oh, and that his other credits include several erotic spoofs and a writing credit for the Denise Richards/Pamela Anderson movie "Blonde and Blonder." Then again, it's obvious that he knows he's not making great art, so I can't really fault him.

Anyways, this is mostly a fun movie. Sure, you've seen the "kids in the woods" movie a billion times before, and there's little here that's original, some of the jokes fall flat, the acting is bad, etc. That out of the way, Kanefsky clearly knows what kind of movie he's making, and obviously loves the genre that he's sending up. It's also got the requisite gore and nudity (something Kanefsky's genre films are mostly known for) that you'd want from a movie like this, some good direction for a first time effort, a fun electronic score (though the 80's sounding pop songs in the soundtrack are a bit grating), and some inspired moments of humor (the best involving a tribute to "Raider of the Lost Ark.) Oh, and then there's Mike. Though his character occasionally get's annoying, Craig Peck manages to make him believable for the most part, as well as an amusing audience surrogate. He's pretty much everyone who has yelled "don't do that" while watching a horror movie.

So, is "There's Nothing Out There" a classic? Not really, though it's clear Kanefsky knows this. It's an amusing little horror comedy that's never offensive or bad, and makes for a good time.

Rating: 7/10

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