Hitting VOD and DVD in March, writer and director E.B. Hughes’ thriller, Exit-0, is a scenic ride through haunted hotel horror, psychological thrillers, stalker and slasher flicks, and a brief pit stop at videotape curse horror. It takes a while to reach a good pace, but things speed up when its story is driven into the unstable reality of its protagonist.
At first, I thought I was about to spend a weekend (eh, hour and a half) at The Doctor’s Inn with an annoying couple who just think everything is “weird” or “strange” or “odd”. Luckily it is only for the first third of the film that Lisa’s and Billy’s dialogue and constant bickering were unpleasant to the viewing experience, rather than creating authenticity between the two. I advise suffering through the grating parts because things get really good once Billy’s memory is triggered. The film takes on a much more thrilling tone — the plot becomes more about impending doom and the horror of living with the effects of a traumatic experience are fully realized.
Exit-0 follows a young couple, Billy (Gabe Fazio) and Lisa (Augie Duke), who decide to spend a romantic weekend at The Doctor’s Inn, a small-town hotel where Billy stayed at on childhood vacations. While in the room alone one night, Billy finds aN unlabeled videotape left beneath their hotel room bed. The video depicts men following a couple to that very same hotel room and committing heinous acts upon them, which deeply affects Billy and triggers his repressed memories. Deciding to keep the contents of the video and his spiraling emotions from his girlfriend, Billy contacts the police who send Detective Mueller (Federico Castelluccio) to help him, but Mueller finds that Billy’s story and evidence don’t quite add up. When Billy’s emotions come to a head, the true terror and the murderer are both revealed.
Lord knows I love a movie about psychological descent, and Exit-0 follows the full-on mental breakdown of one Billy Curtis, played by Gabe Fazio. I feel as though Fazio watched a bunch of Jack Nickolson movies before hitting the set of Exit-0, and I ain’t mad at how his performance turned out. It doesn’t seem that the festival circuit did either, as Fazio won Best Actor at 3 different film festivals. The film has won many awards, but I felt that scenes often lingered where they should be cut shorter for the sake of flow, and also, some of the horror elements, such as suggestions that the hotel is haunted, never went anywhere and seemed meaningless in the end.
Though there were some missteps, there was a lot to like about Exit-0. I enjoyed how the film makes one question reality, and also, made me think about what I would do if I knew a serial killer was coming to kill me — it was an unsettling and unnerving feeling to put myself in the character’s shoes and that is thanks to Gabe Fazio’s committed acting and E.B. Hughes’s clever direction. Distributed by Breaking Glass Pictures, E.B. Hughes’ Exit-0 will be released on VOD and DVD/Blu-ray on Tuesday, March 10.
7.5 out of 10 ☠️
|Runtime:||1 hr 35 Mins.|