There's Nothing Out There (1991) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Well, it was a good idea.

I probably would have enjoyed it quite a bit in 1991, because it was actually made before the Scream series and the other various self-referential genre films and genre parodies that have come along since. Sadly, this film is hard to watch now because it is essentially the original Scream, except with an amateur cast and crew.

The idea is that seven teenagers go for a weekend in an isolated cabin in some spooky deserted woods. One of the guys, the one without a date, has seen every horror movie ever made, and he recognizes the signs of imminent danger. The foreshadowing, the warning stage, the people disappearing in the woods, the mysterious unknown substance, blah, blah. This guy is meant to be funny, but let me warn you that the script was written by a high school student, and was filmed when he was just barely out of high school. Do you know what high school students sound like when they think are being clever, cracking jokes and having insights that are fresh and original, but to adults listening, they sound like a bunch of dumb-asses? Do you know what it's like when everyone is trying to mellow out at a party, except that there is one guy there who thinks he is smart and likes to hear the sound of his own voice, and he keeps making "sarcastic" comments about stuff that nobody really cares about, and everyone else is rolling their eyes at each other?

Imagining those circumstances will give you a pretty good idea of what this movie is like. It really thinks it is witty. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. I think it's clever sometimes. But it's always there telling you it's clever, thinking it is clever, always the sarcastic high-school guy telling you that he's smarter than you are. In fact, this film is rated a lukewarm 5.9 at IMDB by people aged 18-29, but a dreadful Ed Woodesque 3.5 by older viewers. You will be most likely to like it if you enjoy an all night horror movie bull session in the freshman dorms. If you're past that, you're also past this film.

One of the more engaging things about the movie is that while it knows that all those other teen/slasher horror movies suck, it also knows that it sucks itself. I like that a lot better than movies which take themselves seriously. In fact, the characters in the movie are like Pirandello characters, wondering if they are real or in a play. The fourth wall is non-existent.


One of the main actresses, Wendy Bednarz, took off her top twice. She also backed naked into a shower, but the steam obscured the view.

Another lead, Bonnie Bowers, did a sex scene (bare buns, side of breasts) and spent most of the movie in a bikini.

the third female lead, Claudia Flores, was briefly topless during a fight with the monster

Three female extras skinny-dipped in the lake. (Topless only)

"Mike, that's what happens in movies, this is real life"

"Are you sure?"

"Are you saying we're in a movie?"

(Looking at camera, then back at the other character) "It's a distinct possibility"

Further destroying the illusion, at one point the lead actor escapes the monster by swinging away on one of the boom mikes. That gives you the general idea.

Anyway, as it turns out, there was something out there. A horny, violent, but not-too-bright monster who wants to eat the men and have sex with the women.

I have to say that I did love the ending. Three of the seven teenagers make it safely back to the main road. They stop and pick up a frightened girl who has been in the woods. She would seem OK to any of us. She seems to be in the same boat as our stars, just a frightened kid escaping the monster. Unfortunately for her, because she MIGHT possibly be under the control of the monster, and the others have started to smarten up about these things, they won't take any more chances. They throw her out of the van and back into the lonely woods, and drive off into the credits.

You can buy a copy of the tape here

That is the film's official site, and a great resource on the film They have collected every review, for example, from the best to the worst

DVD info from Amazon.

Widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1, transfer OK, but original footage not exactly in Spielberg territory

excellent DVD: outtakes and bloopers, director commentary, auditions, pre-production footage, storyboards, more ...

The movie's strengths:

  • It was original, although (unfortunately) it now seems like a cliché since so many other films have trod the same ground.
  • It's good natured and self-effacing.
  • It's edited well, and that adds some genuine tension and a sense of frenetic action to some of the scenes.
  • It has a few laughs. Every time one of the characters asks a stupid question typical of the genre ("are you going out there?"), it has another character give an appropriate retort highlighting just how dumb the original question was.
  • It has plenty of T&A, and the DVD transfer is OK

The movie's main weakness:

  • The actors don't seem to be actors at all. They deliver lines artificially, and have little sense of how to create a character. I suppose they were just the filmmaker's friends. Of the seven leads, three never acted in anything else, two acted only in one other small-time project. Claudia Flores was an actress, but this appears to be the only time she ever acted in English. Of the entire cast, only Mark Collver had some kind of movie career in the English language, and that solely in movies you've never heard of, many from the same director. (Sorry to say that last year's "Trigon: the Legend of Pelgidium" flew in under my radar, despite the presence of Denise Crosby). One of his credits is the Fun House favorite, "Red Line"

The production budget was $300,000. I don't think they have recouped it all. The film slipped through the cracks, although it has a cult following from its occasional appearances on late-night cable.

The Critics Vote

  • Video Graveyard 1.5/4

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 4.9, but there were a lot of 10's - people who really love this movie.
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C. It's a genre film and a genre parody, and it is watchable. Sometimes funny, but obviously amateurish and juvenile.

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