Directed by Santiago Menghini, ‘No One Gets Out Alive’ is a horror film that follows Ambar, a young Mexican immigrant woman who comes to Cleveland after her mother’s death. As she has no US documents, Ambar tries to find a decent place to stay. She ultimately ends up at Schofield Heights, an old and ramshackle women’s boarding house. As the film progresses, Ambar learns of the horrifying supernatural elements that also reside there. If you are wondering whether ‘No One Gets Out Alive’ is based on a true story, this is what you need to know.
Is No One Gets Out Alive Based on a True Story?
No, ‘No One Gets Out Alive’ is not based on a true story. It has been developed from the 2014 namesake novel by English author Adam Nevill. The film has several paranormal and supernatural aspects, making it nearly impossible to be based on facts. And yet, it offers remarkable depictions of poverty, immigration, and immigrant exploitation.
According to Menghini, he was brought onto the project by The Imaginarium production company when there was already a script. Being a fan of their 2017 film ‘The Ritual,’ another project developed from one of Nevill’s works, Menghini happily agreed to direct the film. He was especially excited that David Bruckner, the director of ‘The Ritual,’ would serve as an executive producer on this project. After he had the chance to go through the novel, Menghini understood its tone and where the story was coming from. Menghini stated that the project was a perfect marriage between the studio’s vision for the film and his own interpretation of it.
‘No One Gets Out Alive’ explores certain supernatural elements that are deeply rooted in Mesoamerican mythology, which doesn’t get represented often in Hollywood films. Itzpapalotl, a prominent deity of the Aztec religion, serves as the primary source of supernatural horror in the movie. Becker gains her blessing by sacrificing young immigrant women to her, just like his father before him. Following the climactic scene, Ambar becomes the newest recipient of the goddess’ blessings. It is heavily hinted that she will now sacrifice to the goddess and acquire her slice of the American dream.
Given that Itzpapalotl is a deity of the Aztecs — a culture that existed in the region currently part of modern Mexico — it’s only fitting that Ambar finds success in a foreign land with the help of a goddess of her own country. The exploitation of immigrants is one of the major themes of the film. Becker, Red, and their family sacrifice immigrant girls for personal gain. By the end of the film, this trope is turned on its head as Ambar, an immigrant girl, sacrifices Red and receives a blessing from the goddess. Evidently, ‘No One Gets Out Alive’ is not based on a true story, but it’s completely understandable if someone thinks it is.
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