When people go to a cabin in the woods in horror movies, these places tend to have been in the family for generations, or a surprisingly cheap rental (uh-oh), or newly purchased from resentful locals who have fallen on hard times. The scenic lakeside getaway of He’s Out There is the latter, as Laura (Yvonne Strahovski) is told by an apparently helpful fella opening the gate for her as she arrives with her two young children Kayla (Anna Pniowsky) and Maddie (Abigail Pniowsky). Her husband Shawn (Justin Bruening) is running late…but will he get there in time?
He’s Out There has some interesting ideas floating around early on as it toys with the idea that Laura’s daughters may be hiding something from her, and there is one fairly disturbing gross-out just prior to the masked attacker making his presence known. The problem is that once this maniac arrives, the film runs out of ideas. This is overly familiar territory, and while it’s competently directed and Strahovski (Chuck, The Handmaid’s Tale) is a strong performer, we’re pretty much going through the motions as we’re reminded of a string of home invasion films from The Strangers to Torment.
So, we get the slightly strained marital relationship between Laura and Shawn, the kids who wander off into the woods, the friendly neighbour with the uncertain agenda, and finally the masked attacker who uses every trick in the book to lure people to the business end of a sharp instrument. It’s interesting to note that the film was made with Dennis Illiadis (of the surprisingly good The Last House On The Left remake) as director, but the finished product is credited to Quinn Lasher, who has no credits on IMDb. He’s Out There is certainly not disastrously bad but it is lacking that spark, that something different that would make more than just another cabin in the woods/home invasion movie.
He’s Out There was seen and reviewed at Arrow Video FrightFest 2018.