As the sun rises the next morning, the hungover quintet hikes to a nearby lake for a night of wilderness camping. Throughout the night, however, secrets are revealed, friendships are tested, and tensions escalate as the group takes on the ultimate bonding exercise.
Once the understanding that Here On Out isn’t your typical dead teenager movie sets in, the viewer can relax and enjoy the unpredictability of the story. Writer-directors Liam Hall and Matias Breuer maintain a consistently steady pace while keeping the story fresh and peppered with tricky little ruses to upend the group. For the most part, the story is tight and lean, focusing on the characters and how their respective histories contribute to the developments of the night.
Since we as moviegoers have become so familiar with the archetypes that exist in this genre, it is natural that we would think to assign popular identifiers to each character in Here On Out as he or she is introduced. What is terrific about Hall and Breuer’s script is that these identifiable traits don’t hold water, other than the standard “smart white girl at the center of the story” trope.
The life crises that each character espouses are never superficial but realistic and relatable. Many screenplays have tried to capture teenage angst accurately, and some have succeeded (Lady Bird comes to mind). But it is remarkably refreshing that Hall and Breuer are able to capture this young adulthood attribute in the guise of an indie horror movie.
Here On Out offers emotional truth and subtle surprises in a movie designed to make you think it’s your usual dead teenager film. The fact that it plays so successfully with that model is a gratifying surprise all its own.
"… isn't your typical dead teenager movie..."