Synopsis: “American businessman Jack Dwyer (Owen Wilson), wife Annie (Lake Bell) and their two young daughters arrive in Southeast Asia to begin a new life. As his company plans to improve the region’s water quality, the family quickly learns that they’re right in the middle of a political uprising. Armed rebels attack the hotel where they’re staying, ordered to kill any foreigners that they encounter. Amid utter chaos, Jack must find a way to save himself and his loved ones from the violence erupting all around them.”
Review: No Escape , like As Above/So Below before it, might go down as one of the biggest surprises of the year. I went in expecting humdrum and came out humming. Director John Erick Dowdle gives his tale of foreigners trapped amidst a blood civil war a neck-break pace, racing from one narrow escape to the next. By planting his audience in a truly terrifying environment that is no doubt every traveler’s worst fear, Dowdle plays on a universal terror with pinpoint accuracy. Owen Wilson and Lake Bell are more than convincing as parents doing their utmost to protect their children from the horrors closing in around them but it’s Pierce Brosnan who steals the show as a low-lying expat who’s more than meets the eye. That No Escape never takes a breathe is one of its strongest points and makes for the kind of rare thriller that thrills the whole way through.
From our original review: “Originally packaged with a much more apt title (The Coup), the ambiguously-named No Escape is still the second surprise thriller of the summer (the first being the shockingly excellent The Gift). John Erick Dowdle, who delivered the monstrously underrated As Above/So Below last year, again proves his knack for preeminently nail-biting sequences with a 103-minute zombie feature that replaces said zombies with radicalized “Asians”. Whereas zombies lack motive, the bloodthirsty nature of the enemy in No Escape is their defining feature and makes for antagonists who are thinly drawn but hugely imposing. Moments of cliche are all but drown out by the overwhelming panic at the heart of the film, a film that manages to tap into the epicenter of terror – having your family hacked to pieces in front of your eyes. It is, in three words: intense as f*ck.” [Full review here] (B+)
- Audio Commentary: The No Escape Blu-Ray comes with an audio commentary from writer/director John Erick Dowdle and brother writer/producer Drew Dowdle in which they break down the technical difficulties involved and tidbits on cast, crew, score, cinematography and more.
- Deleted Scenes: Hotel Morning (3:10) features Jack Dwyer reconsidering going on a Jade Temple tour after Hammond offers a foreboding warning. Hammond’s Breakdown (1:58) sees Hammond improvise in a tough situation. Both come with optional commentary from writer/director John Erick Dowdle.
- Behind the Scenes: Owen Wilson (2:56), Lake Bell (3:12), Pierce Brosnan (3:41), and The Dowdle Brothers (3:49) all provide a segment about what the film meant to them, how they tapped into their character and the universality of fear of traveling.