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No One Gets Out Alive

A creepy tale with deep, rich Mexican mythology and some true gore is capped by one of my favorite monsters in the past decade.

An immigrant woman who takes a cheap room in an old boarding house finds dark secrets lying within its walls. Let’s dig into 2021’s NO ONE GETS OUT ALIVE, directed by Santiago Menghini!

As I See It

Our second dive into contemporary horror has me believing maybe Netflix has some good scares to offer after all.

Their vintage may not be to my palette, but some quality films are being put on, and chances are being taken. The film itself isn’t necessarily groundbreaking, but this is director Santiago Menghini’s first feature film as a director. And it takes some level of trust for that product to end up on the titan of streaming.

We start off with some old home video of a nineteen sixty-three Mexican expedition where an ominous box is discovered and extracted from a pyramid. Jumping right into a tight, sweaty vehicle that more than hints at human trafficking and some type of coyoté operation, it seems clear the current trending political topics that are going to be covered in the film.

This is the type of thing that horror does best: package all the tumult and terror of the dark side of Man and show it through allegory — or bluntly — for us to ingest and learn to process.

Only that didn’t happen here. Every which way you expected this film to go, it didn’t, and everything you expected to be around the corner wasn’t.

Based on the Netflix darling, author Adam Nevill’s 2014 novel of the same name, the story from the British, frequent August Derleth award-winning writer seems rich in folklore that he didn’t grow up with yet has a strong grasp on.

There are tons of good creepy scares, but for some reason, they always feel safe. As if the spirits that seem to be malevolent will do no harm to our protagonist. They are warning Ambar, but it always feels like that: a caution rather than a threat.

What I figured to be a commentary on immigration (both illegal, by the book, and exploitative) ends up being more a diatribe on imperialism.

Think of the taint on plunderers who stole countless cultural and historical relics and treasures from Egypt over hundreds of years of excavations. Whether it be the French under Napoleon and his failed attempt at conquering anything more than antiquities or the British and their, “Trust me, I know what’s best for you better than you do.” pompous conservatorship.

There has always been a, “What do we have here?” mentality that ignored the sovereignty of national treasures in more impoverished nations.

It’s an important throughline, and it’s driven home vividly by a beautiful and consuming demon God that was one of the most refreshing monsters in recent memory.

Worth a watch, and Netflix is two for two.

Famous Faces

Marc Menchaca (Red) features in the Netflix hit series that stars Jason Bateman, Ozark. He’s also featured on other shows such as Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm and Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan.

Of Gratuitous Nature

What I saw as a lazy allegory, which wasn’t hidden behind enough clever storytelling, ended up being a bit of misdirection. I suppose the only gripe may be that all the victims are female, but that power dynamic works especially well for the ending.


The Moth God, or Obsidian Butterfly, or Itzpapalotl, is a beautifully graphic creature of death. I’m happy to have seen her finish her debut with a hearty meal of Red meat.

Ripe for a Remake

Does not apply.


No progeny to report, yet.

Where to Watch

No One Gets Out Alive is streaming on Netflix. It has not yet received a physical release.

Overall Rating (Out of 5 Butterflies): 3

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