Review: Next Exit
When a research scientist makes national news proving she can track people into the afterlife, Rose sees a way out and Teddy sees his chance to finally make it. These two strangers, both harboring dark secrets, race to join the doctor's contentious study and leave this life behind. While Rose is haunted by a ghostly presence that she can't outrun, Teddy is forced to confront his past. As these two misfits humorously quarrel their way across the country, they meet people along the way who force them to reckon with what is really driving them.
Rahul Kohli, Katie Parker & Karen Gillan.
Next Exit is a fascinating powerful supernatural interpretation tackling themes such as depression, regret and loss, told in a simple linear effective manner. This year has been great for low budget pictures, all with a common trait of testing an audience’s perception on familiar emotions and themes that have been portrayed on screen many times before. These unique spins have ultimately worked in their favour & low budget films like this are really making a comeback. This is one of them.
Rose & Teddy meet during their individual trips to the end of all their suffering and become something more for filling, when they begin to learn more about each other and what initially drove them to take this journey. While a story about searching inside yourself, it’s not surprise a story like this takes a turn and becomes a search into someone else’s soul. As much as this is a sci-fi drama, I found it to be strangely hilarious with extremely heartwarming moments that balanced the film nicely. I definitely would have liked them to dive a little deeper into the horror of the story. There are certain shots that sent shivers down my spine and would have much enjoyed it more if they committed a smidge more.
Besides some moments that I personally felt as though they were rushed, blink and you miss pieces of information. For a 100 minute runtime, the storytelling was extremely admirable. As much as I would love to say the visuals helped tell the whole story, I would be lying. Both Rahul & Katie deliver fantastic performances equally as strong as each other, adding the multitudes of layers that the film had to offer. You could see the pain in each of these characters eyes with every frame, it was upsetting to see.
As much as seeing Karen Gillan is a delight, I found her to be a miscast. Not to say she was bad, but, with a face so familiar as hers to play a doctor who was merely a figure seen through the TV, the lack of depth with anything to do with her character inevitably pulled me out when she was on screen. Now, as much as I loved the concept, I couldn’t help but feel as though it was heavily inspired by ‘The Leftovers’, a lot more subtle in concept tv series that tackles similar themes of death & possible “after life”. If it wasn’t, then I don’t think that would change my opinion, rather personal opinion over a filmmaking flaw.
To conclude, Next Exit was a beautiful interpretation and reinvention of the supernatural concept told powerfully through Rahul Kohli & Katie Parker’s extraordinary performances. It’s one of the more impressive low budget films of the year.