Directed by Kristine Hipps [Other horror films: The Monument (2005)]
Coming to us from Colorado, You’re Not Getting Out Alive is a rather low-budget horror comedy. Like many lower-budget films, some of the special effects can be questionable, but what’s not in question is that this movie has a lot of heart. I enjoyed most of the performances, the story, and overall, no matter what the budget was, this was a lot of fun.
Of course, I’ve always held a healthy respect for independent horror. Even if the movie isn’t great (such as Camp Hideaway Massacre or Curse of Halloween), you have to respect everyone involved for doing their best and trying to pull a movie together without the bottomless well of money that Hollywood can dole out. As such, some of the better lower-budget horror, such as Silver Cell (2011), The Horrible 4 (2010), Clownz R Us, and Vampire Ticks from Outer Space, deserve as much accolades as possible, and this movie is no different.
So many of the performances were great, but before I can even touch on that, I wanted to speak briefly about how amusing the story here was. To be sure, it’s not abnormal as far as slashers go – a group of people are killed by a mysterious killer in a rural location – but what allows this to be more is the fact these people are actors in a low-budget play. The play itself is hilarious – written by a stoner director, the title is “Southern Greens: The Story of the Civil War Stoner.” This stuff is comedy gold.
Aside from the director and assistant director of the play, the seven central characters are actors in the play, and are introduced to us via their auditions to be cast in the play. Some of these auditions are decent, and what you might expect, but some are damn funny, such as Toby’s ridiculous hand-puppet skit, Misty’s piece from Memoirs of a Confederate Jezebel (“Papa? Is that you, papa? I cannot see you for the tears in my eyes and the blindness”), or Ellis performing a piece from Julian Caesar: The Musical. These performances are great, and this is a comedy horror I can get behind.
There are a few performances that don’t stand out that well, but that’s only because some of them here are just so wildly fun. Though James O’Hagan Murphy, Patrick Mann, and Krista Rayne Reckner have a harder time being remembered, I really don’t think that takes away from what they brought into the movie, especially since Reckner’s character of Misty was legit funny at times.
Taking it from the top, though, we have Michael Kennedy, playing the stoner director. This guy, though maybe too stereotypical in his caricature, cracked me up. His play about marijuana saving the Union was great, and possessed some quality lines, such as “I propose a toast to Southern victory and the marijuana plant,” and a bit about “sucking on” someone’s “bubbling pipe” (being a bong, but it’s entirely possible his character didn’t get the sexual innuendo). I loved his character, and Kennedy did a great job with it.
Playing his assistant director was Dawn Bower, who was high-strung and the exact opposite of the laid-back, stoner director. Her character could be curt at times, but I thought she was a lot of fun. And speaking of fun, there’s David William Murray Fisher, who played Ellis, a rather flamboyant gay guy, who was great, and he worked well with Duane Brown, who played Toby. Brown brought a decent amount of humor too, so kudos.
Linda Swanson Brown was pretty perfect as the straight final girl. Not too quirky, but not without personality, she did really well in her role, and playing an entirely different role, Jillann Tafel was amazing. Playing an older actress past her prime, and always drinking, she had a lot of funny lines (“I once took it in the caboose from Benny Hill. That’s how I got my union card,” and “Isn’t she Miss Sunny Tits?”).
You’re Not Getting Out Alive is a funny movie. It’s not over-the-top, like The Stripper Ripper – once bodies start piling up, most of the jokes and banter stop – but for the first forty minutes, there is a lot of fun to be had with this movie.
Of course, the kills aren’t great here. There is a decapitated head that pops up (obviously a dummy head), and there are a few stabbings and bit of bloodshed, but this slasher is more focused on the characters and story (and on a related note, while the story isn’t great, I do think it handles some foreshadowing pretty well) than it is on kills, which works to it’s benefit given the budgetary constraints.
I really like this movie. For whatever budget they had to work with, they did a great job (and provided some amusing outtakes during the credits), and for low-budget horror comedy, I think this movie definitely does what it sets out to do, and fans of independent horror should endeavor to give this one a look.