In the film No One Gets Out Alive”, not only the topic of illegal migrants and their harsh and difficult life is raised, but also a moral dilemma, the willpower of the individual, the ability to experience and let go of the past, the cruelty of the world around and social inequality.
The main character of the film is Amber Cruz, an illegal immigrant. She moved from Mexico to the US, staying in the city of Cleveland, hoping for a better life. But due to the fact that she has no documents and almost no money, Amber has to check into a motel first, and then rent a room at Scofield Heights, a boarding house for women, on the cheap. There are only two men there – the owner Red and his brother, with whom Amber will not immediately encounter.
Amber tries to do a good job, but due to the lack of documents, she cannot get a normal job, and is forced to work at a factory as a seamstress and packer for a penny. She is promised help with the preparation of documents, but due to the fact that Amber needs the fact of birth in Texas (since she asked for help from her uncle and lied that she was born there, she needs documents for an interview, so she has no choice), the price raise from one thousand dollars to three. Amber is desperate – she does not know what to do and how to solve this situation, but this is far from the only reason for concern.
Something is happening at the boarding house. Amber sees ghosts, she has strange dreams, she hears screams from the lower floor and from neighboring rooms, she notices some strange dust on the doors. The lack of a sense of security in the room causes her to become even more nervous than before, in addition. She urgently needs to get money, so she asks Red to return the deposit for the room, but he delays with this and Amber is desperate, getting drunk with a work colleague who promised to make her documents, gives her all his money and, of course, is faced with the fact fraud. She will never be able to find a colleague, because of her nerves she will quarrel with her boss and will remain completely without work.
Uncle, having learned the truth, will refuse to help her, and Amber will be left all alone. She will notice more and more oddities in the boarding house, suffer from constant nightmares, and eventually run away from there without waiting for the return of money from Red. True, he will soon deceive her back to the boarding house and Amber will understand that she is unlikely to get out of there alive – Becker, Reed’s brother, will turn out to be a serial killer.
The fact is that the brothers inherited the boarding house from their parents, Martha and Arthur. Arthur, during excavations in Mexico, discovered a box in which an Aztec deity (or just a monster) was locked and began to bring human sacrifices to him. Red and Becker’s father became violent after discovering the box, began committing murders in the basement of the house, and his wife was his accomplice until he killed her. Becker suffered from a mental disorder. He killed his father and after renovating the boarding house, he began to sacrifice girls to the box and immediately after that he felt better. So the boarding house turned into a large house for sacrifices. The brothers chose only immigrant girls as victims, knowing that no one would look for them.
Amber tries to escape – she attracts the attention of her uncle (he realized that the girl was inside the boarding house because he saw the jacket on the floor that his wife gave to Amber) and tries to protect her, but Becker kills him, gets even angrier and demands Red to prepare the rest girls for sacrifice. Amber tries in vain to appeal to the mind and pity of Red – he is convinced that he must protect his brother and help him (but behind this there is clearly fear, because Red understands that Becker can kill him, since he beats him quite often if something then it doesn’t go according to plan), because of which he not only cannot stop the bloodshed, but also cannot leave the boarding house. Here it is obvious that the film raises not only the problem of domestic violence, but also a kind of one of the variations of the Stockholm syndrome.
Becker tries to sacrifice Amber. The deity appears to her in the form of a mother and, just like her, demands to stay nearby, but Amber, realizing from the edge of her consciousness that this is not her at all, therefore strangles her mother and interrupts the ceremony, not allowing the creature to bite off her head. Metaphorically, Amber finally cuts off the connection with her past.
But she has yet to get out of the terrible boarding house alive. Amber kills Becker with a ritual Aztec blade and sacrifices her brothers, thereby becoming the next follower of the cult – in gratitude, the deity heals her broken ankle. The cycle continues.
The film has an open ending. We don’t know what Amber will choose, but we understand that she faces the same choice as the once-living Red: continue to make sacrifices to the deity to achieve some goal (which is not voiced in the story, but we can assume that this is a normal the life for which Amber moved to the USA) or leave the boarding house and never return there. Trying to get out alive, she unwittingly became a murderer, and it is not known whether she will have enough willpower to resist the temptation.