Reading other folks' reviews before writing your own can be tricky, especially when universal praise skews your expectations. Luckily, that's not the case with Enter Nowhere: this marketed-as-a-horror-movie-even-though-it's-not currently enjoys a number of glowing write-ups on Amazon...but the movie also shows a dismal 2.9/10 score on the Internet Movie Database. I'm always eager to seek out movies that divide critics and audiences alike, so I'm glad this little-seen psychological thriller turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Enter Nowhere may not be a perfect "10", but it's definitely not a 2.9 either.
Our story revolves around three strangers who encounter one another at a remote cabin in the woods. Tom (Scott Eastwood, son of Clint), Samantha (Katherine Waterston, Michael Clayton) and Jody (Sara Paxton, Shark Night 3D) are there for different reasons, but it doesn't look like they'll be leaving anytime soon. There's not much in the way of food and no water supply. There's no communication with the outside world. Hiking in any given direction seems to lead them back to the cabin. Sounds more like a Twilight Zone episode than a full-length film, but this debut effort from director Jack Heller plays most of its cards exactly right, revealing a few carefully-hidden clues as the story gradually unfolds.
Enter Nowhere's first and second acts provide a good mix of intrigue and character interaction, thanks in part to the performances of our three leads. Scott Eastwood plays it straight as the tough loner, even though he can't help but stumble over a few clunky lines of dialogue. Katherine Waterston does a fine job as a troubled expectant mother, while Sara Paxton's brash exterior is gradually worn away once she lets her guard down. Their shared dilemma eventually gives way to a third-act reveal that most viewers will see coming, but there's enough meat to make Enter Nowhere stand up to multiple viewings. In spite of a few missteps along the way---including the bookending scenes, which are painted much too broadly and attempt to tie up too many loose ends---it's an enjoyable ride from start to finish.
I'd imagine that most of the film's negative reviews are due to its marketing, which promises a tense slasher film instead of a story-driven character study. Enter Nowhere arrives on DVD courtesy of Lionsgate...and while a separate Blu-Ray option would've been nice, this one-disc package is still a pleasing effort despite the lack of in-depth bonus features. Let's take a closer look, shall we?
Quality Control Department
Video & Audio Quality
Presented in its original 2.40:1 aspect ratio and enhanced for 16x9 displays, Enter Nowhere looks quite strong from start to finish. The film's color palette is largely muted and holds up well, black levels are solid and image detail is uniformly good. Trace amounts of edge enhancement and compression artifacts could be spotted along the way, but this is a very good effort overall and fans should be pleased.
The film's lone audio track is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and replicates this dialogue-driven film with a suitably front-heavy soundstage. Separation is notable at times, a few distinct uses of LFE keep things interesting and rear channels are typically reserved for background ambience and occasional music cues. Surprisingly enough, Optional English SDH subtitles are provided during the main feature.
Menu Design, Presentation & Packaging
Seen above, the lightly animated menu designs offer smooth and simple navigation. This 86-minute film has been divided into 16 chapters, no layer change was detected during playback and a number of forced trailers play before the main menu can be accessed. This one-disc package is housed in a silly "eco-friendly" keepcase and no additional inserts or other packaging materials are included.
Extras are limited to a short but sweet Behind-the-Scenes Featurette
and the film's spoiler-heavy Theatrical Trailer
. The former contains plenty of input from key cast and crew members...and though it's a little promotional at times, there's plenty of good info here that definitely makes it worth watching. Unfortunately, no optional subtitles or Closed Captions are included during these bonus features.
The term "psychological thriller" doesn't hold all that much weight anymore, but Enter Nowhere is no-frills moviemaking that's definitely worth seeking out. Featuring a handful of plot twists and three solid leads, there's plenty to like if you're not expecting horror. Lionsgate's DVD is passable under the circumstances, favoring strong A/V quality over plentiful extras. Curious genre fans may be satisfied with a rental, but the film's better-than-average replay value makes this DVD worth a purchase. Recommended.
Randy Miller III is an affable office monkey from Harrisburg, PA. He also does freelance graphic design projects, teaches art classes and runs a website or two. In his limited free time, Randy also enjoys slacking off and writing stuff in third person.