Couple’s vacations in films almost rarely occur without incident in films. If a couple is on a trip, particularly to a place in a small town, the film can go in one of two directions: RIDICULOUS HIJINKS a la Funny Farm or BRUTAL TERROR a la Funny Games. E.B. Hughes’ thriller Exit 0 falls somewhere close to the terror territory, but not too close.
Billy Curtis (Gabe Fazio) and his girlfriend of about a year, Lisa (Augie Duke) decide to leave the hustle and bustle of New York life for a weekend to go visit a Bed & Breakfast that Billy remembers visiting as a child. On the way there, while at a rest stop, a man displays a random bout of aggressive behavior in the men’s room, slamming a stall door next to Billy. He’s shaken up by this and seems to become more on edge the closer that they get to the B&B. Upon arrival, Lisa and Billy are greeted by the nice but rather eccentric innkeeper, Frederick (Kenneth McGregor). When they get to their room, Billy is spooked by a drawer that opens on its own and Lisa didn’t see it happen.
“…finds a videotape…It plays out a brutal murder that occurred some 30 years prior.”
As Billy and Lisa’s stay progresses, weirder things start to happen. Billy finds a videotape in the same drawer that opened on its own. It plays out a brutal murder that occurred some 30 years prior. Except when Billy calls the police, the tape has disappeared. It’s not hard to figure out what Billy’s connection to the tape is, which is a gripe I have about the film, considering it’s also the “mysterious” crux of the story. However, Exit 0 does show how grief can take its toll on a person, especially when not dealt with properly.
I can say that there are some great performances from some of the most interesting character actors out there, particularly Peter Greene as “The Writer”, a man who wrote a book at the B&B 30 years before and intends to write another one in between drinks. There’s also Boomer Tibbs as Viktor the night manager, and Daniel O’Shea as Charles, the lighthouse tour guide. Federico Castelluccio rounds out the cast with his role as Detective Mueller, who’s trying to figure out if Billy is crazy or what exactly went down in relation to this tape. Another issue I have with Exit 0 is not utilizing the awesome supporting cast more, particularly Peter Greene, who I am such a huge fan of and could have had a bigger role than he did in my opinion.
“The whole trauma of revisiting this town brings the two of them closer together…”
Billy and Lisa seem to be having problems towards the beginning of the film. Billy thinks Lisa’s on her phone too much and Lisa can’t stand that Billy smokes cigarettes. The whole trauma of revisiting this town brings the two of them closer together, which is my favorite element of the film. So check out Exit Zero if you’re into a more existential thriller that explores past psychological trauma and grief. It’s presented with more of a “creepy hotel” vibe, which it certainly has, but that’s not what the story is particularly about. I thought that the film was interesting, if not slightly anti-climactic if you figure out what’s going on early in the film like I did. It doesn’t mean it’s not worth seeing, because there are some great performances, it’s just not perfect in it’s storytelling execution in my opinion.
Exit 0 (2019) Written and Directed by E.B. Hughes. Starring Gabe Fazio, Augie Duke, Federico Castelluccio, Peter Greene, Kenneth McGregor, Daniel O’Shea, Boomer Tibbs, Ariel Eliaz, Ashley Jordyn, Tara Rose Schrieber, Lindsey Axelsson, Kevin Ebner, Cash Kortum, Terry O’Brien, George Lind
5.5 out of 10 stars