There’s Nothing Out There
Director: Rolfe Kanefsky
Cast: Craig Peck, Bonnie Bowers, Mark Collver
Reviewed by Brian M. Sammons
Hey, remember Scream? Remember how everyone loved that it was so self-referential and aware of all the old tropes of horror movies? Yeah, that was great and refreshing and original and… Well, this movie did it first in 1991. Those really cool horror fans out there already know this and now, so do you (just in case you didn’t). So it gets points for being firsties for the meta self-aware thing, but is it any good? Well come on, we’re off for a weekend in the woods, and don’t worry, “There’s nothing out there…”
The story begins, as it does with many of these movies, with a bunch of high school kids going off to a house in the woods for a little partying, sex, and overall fun. Too bad for them that a little green alien thing that kind of looks like a big-mouthed frog with two tentacle arms is running around those very same woods. This little ugly bugly loves eating the guys and doing implied naughty things (although it’s never shown) with the ladies, and it has its glowing green eyes firmly set on the partying teens.
Lucky for the kids (ok, the obvious twenty-to-thirty-somethings pretending to be teens) they have Mike, a guy that’s seen every horror movie on video and knows all the warning signs when he sees them. What’s not so lucky for the partiers is that none of them believe Mike’s paranoid ravings until it’s too late. So you get the old standbys of people wandering off in the woods alone for some nookie getting bumped off by an alien with the munchies. Eventually a few of the friends do get hip to the idea that they are getting killed and then it’s movie nerd Mike leading the way in the final battle.
Ok, so the story is none too original, but that’s part of its charm and all part of the joke. It’s supposed to be cliché and the fact that the teens are so obviously trapped in a horror movie to Mike, yet his friends can’t see it, is one of the best jokes in this surprisingly effective comedy. This movie runs the gauntlet from silly jokes, to dirty jokes, to in-jokes for horror fans, to slapstick and pratfalls, even some forth-wall-breaking nods and winks. No, not all of the jokes are winners, and some miss the mark by more than a mile, but more hit it than not and that can’t be said by a lot of comedies and rest assured, that is what There’s Nothing Out There is. If you are expecting a horror movie, you may be disappointed. However, if you want a funny and fun flick with some nice nudity, some ok gore effects, and has the added bonus of being first to do something, then you’ll dig this flick. I sure did.
Let’s get to the extras this is on this new Blu-ray DVD combo pack from Vinegar Syndrome. There is a brand-new croup commentary track with director Rolfe Kanefsky plus fellow filmmakers Joe Lynch and Jeff Reddick. There is an archival director’s commentary with Kanefsky from the 20th anniversary edition of this film. There is also a third commentary with the director, Victor Kanefsky, who did the editing, and actors Craig Peck and Mark Collver from the move. Lastly there is a fourth commentary track with the horror podcast The Hysteria Continues for a fan look at the film. That’s a lot of goodness right there, but wait, there’s more. There’s a 52-minute interview with the director Rolf and editor Victor Kanefsky, a second interview with just Victor about his 40-year-long career as an editor, and this runs for about 31 minutes. There is a new interview with actor Craig Peck that’s over 18 minutes long and another archival interview with director Kanefsky that’s 36 minutes long. Then there are four short films made by Kanefsjy – “Copycat,” “Murder in Winter,” “Just Listen,” and “Mood Boobs” with this one coming complete with a small behind-the-scenes featurette. There is a theatrical trailer that comes with commentary, a music video (no, really), a stills gallery, rehearsal footage, pre-production footage, video storyboards, cast auditions, animated test footage, and deleted scenes. And all of these last seven things listed also come with commentary. That is a whole boatload of extras on this new release.
There’s Nothing Out There is a very fun film that I really enjoyed. If you’re a horror fan then consider it mandatory. Not only is there a ton of humor in it just for us, it really is part of Horror History 101. So be one of the cool kids and get this new Blu-ray today where the movie looks and sounds better than ever and it comes with a ton of special features. You’ll be happy you did.