Exit 0 Movie Review

Written by Ilan Sheady

Released by Breaking Glass Pictures

exit 0 poster large

Directed by E.B. Hughes
Written by E.B. Hughs and Gregory Voigt
2019, 95 minutes, Not Rated
Released on March 10th, 2020

Gabe Fazio as Billy Curtis
Augie Duke as Lisa
Federico Castelluccio as Detective Mueller
Peter Greene as The Writer
Kenneth McGregor as Frederick
Daniel O'Shea as Charles

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In an attempt to get away from the stresses of New York and spend some quality time together, Billy Curtis (Gabe Fazio) and girlfriend Lisa (Augie Duke - Bad Kids Go To Hell) take a relaxing weekend trip to an isolated island where incidentally Billy last remembers seeing his parents 30 years prior.

If things are already sounding like bad decision making then you are in for a ride.

When Billy starts having hallucinations it becomes harder to recognise what is real, including a videotape he finds with a recording of a previous resident's murder.

Have you ever been (or still are) friends with a couple who are absolutely not meant to be together, whose interactions have them teetering on the edge of an argument every time they speak and the fact they are still together is a mystery to everyone but themselves?

Now imagine going on holiday with them.

This is Exit 0.

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Full credit to both Babe Fazio and Augie Duke for perfectly representing a toxic cocktail of a relationship flavoured with paranoia, emotional isolation, sexual impotence, passive aggression and temper tantrums.

And SOMEBODY won’t stop playing on their GOD-DAMN PHONE!

I’m just saying.

Nothing is physically dramatic, hostile or worth intervening over; just watch in uncomfortable silence until it sorts itself out and we can finally go on to a cheerful montage of happy window shopping.

Truth be told if The Real Housewives of [insert anywhere] was anything like reality and avoided staged conflict then Exit 0 is more like what it would be.

At this point in the review I realise I’m focusing more on the failing relationship than anything “spooky”, but this is exactly what makes Exit 0 work. The mundanity of the conversations and inharmonious nature of the main characters mean that nobody is ever fully aware of the other. By the time you hear Billy complaining about the disappearing black car, an hour of lost time and a drawer closing itself, you, as a bystander, are so disconnected from the situation that you have very little to defend what Billy is suggesting.

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Writer and director E.B. Hughes deliberately avoids filming horror cliches like closeups, jump scares and loud noises that typically highlight that something has happened and that’s worth noting. Instead, you watch the rantings of a grumpy hipster complaining about the accuracy of his Rolex instead of siding with him. Consequently this puts you firmly in the shoes of his partner and the poor bystanders that try to humour him: Frederick the manager (Kenneth McGregor - Prom Night IV), Vincent the night porter (Boomer Tibbs - Child Eater) and Detective Mueller (Federico Castelluccio - House of Shadows). Billy, meanwhile, is the cursed protagonist who rarely gets to be on the same page as the people he talks to. Most notably, his girlfriend Lisa, perhaps subconsciously, struggles to stay by his side both literally and figuratively.

The only moments of sobering conversation Billy gets, ironically, is through the ramblings of a drunk writer (Peter Greene - Pulp Fiction, The Mask) staying in the room next door, and the haunted lighthouse tour guide (Daniel O’Shea - The Rocketeer) who only adds to his paranoia.

Having a man in a hotel slowly driven crazy by visions and questioning reality will naturally draw comparisons with The Shining, but the resemblance is surface level at best. If you are hoping for a haunted hotel romp with ghostly twins and bentneck ladies then you are going to be highly disappointed. There is a very dark and sinister story in Exit 0 and it’s down to the viewer to find, decipher and arrive at the conclusions needed to make peace with it, because Billy certainly can’t.

Instead, Exit 0 is more an exploration into the effects of pent-up trauma and the maddening isolation of not being believed.

But if you want to live dangerously and make an evening of it then you can always take a shot of alcohol every time you feel socially awkward and you’ll likely be dead by the time the film ends.

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Movie: 3 Star Rating Cover

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