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Exit 0

By Bobby LePire | March 6, 2020

Exit 0 begins with a couple traveling to a small seaside town that the man, Billy (Gabe Fazio), fondly recalls from childhood. Lisa (Augie Duke) and he are having a tense, terse conversation about if they are going the right away, who she is texting, and various other small things that really should not be big issues. It is an off-putting introduction to the leads, and while the audience is eventually won over, it takes more time than it should because of this miscalculation.

Well, partial miscalculation. See, Billy’s arc ensures that his conversation during this opening car ride and what he is saying at the end holds meaning and weight. However, until the very end of the movie, you are left confused by just what these two offer each other. Now, if you can stick with Exit 0, it ultimately proves the wait worth it. But, I am getting off track.

“…starts to unpack their suitcases and finds a VHS tape…plays witness to two men tracking down a couple and killing them…”

The real story begins when they arrive at the hotel. After checking in with the manager Frederick (Kenneth McGregor), Lisa takes a bath to wash away the road trip grime. Billy starts to unpack their suitcases and finds a VHS tape. With nothing else to do, he puts it in and plays witness to two men tracking down a couple and killing them in the very room he is in. Not wanting to worry Lisa, he opts not to tell her.

The next morning, he calls the cops, and Detective Muller (Federico Castelluccio) shows up. Billy explains how he found the tape and what was on it. When Billy goes searching for it, he cannot find it. Muller is very patient and understanding, but with the evidence on hand, there is nothing he can do. Billy is flustered that the tape just up and vanished. Though, this is not the only strange occurrence since he has checked in. He randomly lost an hour of time the night they checked in. He has seen the same black car several times on their trip. Has Billy finally cracked? Does his childhood connection to the town have anything to do with what is going on?

Before delving into the good, let’s finish dissecting the odd characterizations in director E.B. Hughes’s script. At first, I honestly thought they were siblings forced to travel together. That would hand-wave away the tension and bitter dialogue. But why would anyone choose to be with someone with who that is the rapport they have? Billy’s constant paranoia over who Lisa is texting – was she ever unfaithful, or is he just jealous? – is an odd focal point that does not work. The reason it does not work is because an answer never comes.

Exit 0 (2020)

Directed and Written: E.B. Hughes

Starring: Gabe Fazio, Augie Duke, Kenneth McGregor, Federico Castelluccio, Peter Greene, Boomer Tibs, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

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"…a fantastic look at how trauma and grief can emotionally cut one off from the rest of the world..."

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