by Dionisio “Don” Traverso Jr.
Much like my first review, I present another movie with a title that’s a declarative statement: There’s Nothing Out There! (1991)
The movie opens with a pretty girl being stalked by an unknown threat inside a video store that well stocked with the latest (for 1991) horror movies. Just as the killer catches up with her…she wakes up in her crashed car out at night in the middle of the woods. She’s fine…except for the unknown threat stalking her outside. Back to her later.
The next day, a group of teens on Spring Break (who look too old to be teens) go to a cabin in the woods for a little rest, sex, and relaxation, led by Jim, whose uncle owns said cabin. However, much to the chagrin of his girlfriend Stacy and the two other couples coming along, Jim also invited his friend Mike.
The thing about Mike is that he is an expert in all things horror film related. So much so, he tries to talk Jim and the others out of going to an obvious (to him) death trap. On the way, they pass the scene of the car accident from the beginning of the film, with the police searching for the now missing girl. Mike immediately suggests they turn back because they “just went through a warning stage” based on his horror movie knowledge.
Of course, you know he’s right.
Writer/Director Rolfe Kanefsky created a perfect parody of 80’s slasher/horror film with this, his first film, invoking every movie cliché possible in a way that makes fun and respects them at the same time. That is not to say that the movie is predictable. There are lots of twists to untangle to figure out what, exactly, is out there.
While the whole cast does very well with their roles as stereotypical teen targets of the mystery killer, the MVP of the movie is undoubtedly Craig Peck as horror movie nerd Mike. His portrayal is pretty daring, in that Mike is a smart-ass and not really likable, but he exudes a quality not unlike Hugh Laurie’s Gregory House. When one of the girls stands by a window while the killer is outside trying to get into the cabin, Mike admonishes her: “Is someone paying you to stand by an open window? There are some razor blades in the corner you can play with if you like.” He’s an asshole, but a lovable asshole.
If you’re thinking that Mike sounds like Jamie Kennedy’s character Randy in Scream, you’re right. Except that this film was released 5 years before Scream, so Mike came before Randy. Also, while Scream pays homage to teen slasher/horror films, it is also more serious, while There’s Nothing Out There! is very much a teen slasher/horror comedy.
This one’s tons of fun and one of my favorite movies. 5 out of 5 cheese curds. Find it. Watch it. Enjoy it.