Let’s go play in the woods.


He’s Out There is another lost-in-the-woods-hunted-by-a-lunatic film (I want to make LITWHBAL a recognizable acronym). Perhaps I am starting to become jaded towards horror, but we get our first loud noise=scary jump scare about three minutes into the film and I already felt exhausted.

The camera choice gives everything a hazy shine to it, and this doesn’t work as well in the natural setting. Seeing light trails off windshields did more to remind me I was watching a movie than draw me in. To put it bluntly, I don’t think the filtration and lens choice works very well.

We follow Laura and her two girls as they travel to their home in the woods. Why they have this house, or why they are visiting it this particularly week isn’t entirely clear (though I suppose it doesn’t have to be). The whole thing smacks of another what-if scenario in horror. What if a mother and her two daughters are stalked by a madman at their summer(?) cabin?

It is always weird to me what information horror movies decide we need to know. Our married couple in this film seems to be having some trouble (the husband plans to follow them due to unknown reasons) and that is about all we get for family development. However, we get a lengthy bit of information about a boy who went missing (from the house they now own) and was never found. Boy oh boy, I wonder who the lurker in the woods is. Most people don’t start conversations with “Hey a kid went missing from your house, have a nice weekend with your kids.” The information could have come more organically, but that would have required an actual character in the film to interact with the world.

Unfortunately, we don’t really have characters here. We have clichés of real people throughout, and this makes connecting with any of them quite difficult. Gun to my head, I could not tell you which kid is which.

I don’t actually think kids are dumb, but kids in horror movies are spectacularly dumb. I believe these girls are old enough to not eat food they find in the forest. Usually kids are about the cheapest emotional pull available, and I think this is why they are used so frequently. We all know that in most films the children will make it just fine, so any peril they are put into is rather flimsy. (Though some great films have blown this expectation out of the water).

The problem with this film is that we have seen it before. The only surprises can come when it messes with the chronology so we literally can’t see it coming. Knowing the premise, you will be able to predict the beats of this film with almost perfect accuracy, and that is a problem. It is a below average yet serviceable genre flick, but there is absolutely nothing special here. The most unique thing is the killer throws eggs at the victims at one point—yeah it makes as much sense in the film as it does here.

Overall, you can avoid this one.

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