62 user 34 critic

While She Was Out (2008)

A woman out late for Christmas Eve shopping is soon terrorized by a small gang of troublemakers, and she must fight for her life.


Susan Montford


Edward Bryant (short story), Susan Montford

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Kim Basinger ... Della
Lukas Haas ... Chuckie
Craig Sheffer ... Kenneth
Jamie Starr Jamie Starr ... Huey
Leonard Wu ... Vingh
Luis Chávez ... Tomas (as Luis Chavez)
Luke Gair Luke Gair ... Terry
Erika-Shaye Gair ... Tammi
Wayne Bernard Wayne Bernard ... Angry Driver
Ari Solomon ... Rent A Cop
Sadie Lawrence Sadie Lawrence ... Perfume Sales Lady
Alana Husband ... Lingerie Sales Assistant
Katie Messina ... Coffee Sales Person
Rachel Hayward ... Lynn
Lossen Chambers ... Pharmacy Sales Assistant


Della Myers is an overwhelmed upper-middle-class housewife who lives in a large house in the suburbs with her twin children and her abusive husband, Kenneth. Kenneth lets Della know that he thinks she gives all her attention to the twins and neglects her house and her appearance. Late on Christmas Eve, Della drives to the local mall to buy gift-wrap. While searching for a parking space in the jam-packed lot, Della notices an old car taking up two spaces. Frustrated and annoyed, she decides to leave a paper message on the windshield of the old car, writing, "Hey, Jerk. Two parking spaces. How selfish can you be?" After the mall closes, Della's car is held by the driver of the old car and she is threatened by four punks -- Chuckie, Huey, Vingh, and Tomás. When the security guard of the mall attempts to protect Della, he is shot and killed by Chuckie. Della tries to escape from the criminals in her truck, but the gang chases her. In the chase, she crashes in a nearby forest. What unfolds... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Edited and revised for clarity by JKS, United States

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Everyone has a breaking point. Tonight, she reaches hers See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »



USA | Canada | Germany


English | Spanish | Chinese

Release Date:

26 March 2009 (Spain) See more »

Also Known As:

Mientras estás fuera See more »


Box Office


$6,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Version of this story was filmed as a segment of the anthology series The Hidden Room starring Stephanie Zimbalist as Della. See more »


Remake of The Hidden Room: While She Was Out (1993) See more »


God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
Arranged by Isabella Rix
Performed by 5 Alarm Music
Courtesy of 5 Alarm Music
Vocals Performed by Leigh Ferguson
Arranged by Gordy Goudie
See more »

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User Reviews

That's a handy dandy red tool box.
1 August 2009 | by lost-in-limboSee all my reviews

So this is what actress Kim Basinger has succumbed to? Mmm… to tell the truth the film's title is something quite eye grabbing to getting your interest and plot outline reads so basic, but simplicity can have its strengths. Anyhow by the end of 'While She Was Out' I was left feeling rather indifferent. Not the worse (despite being engulfed by negatives), but there's easily way better in what is an causally lukewarm, but compact and unbalanced late-night survival fable of a feeble suburban housewife stranded in the woods trying to fight for her life after she witnessed the death of a rent a cop that came to her aid, when she provoked an ugly exchange with some punks in a shopping car park.

The problem here falls on the misguidedly erratic and foreseeable material (taken from a short story), along with the very variable performances. The flimsy script was poorly thought-out (which isn't so good when your plot has a slight structure to hang off), so many wretched inclusions and dubious actions just go on to find its way in this endless chain of events. As for the bunch of stereotypical goons (led by an unconvincing Lukas Hass as a loose canon) terrorizing Basinger, well they were less than threatening, but hopelessly clueless. Watching Basinger scrounging around in the dank wilderness with a red tool box in her hand (don't ask me why?) knocking off these wannabe punks one by one became ridiculous because it didn't elicit tension or emotion… but instead clumsy jolts that were absurdly daft because of the stupidity of the lead up. Basinger's performance is stout-like, but doesn't craft much empathy. Craig Sheffer shows up as her hot-headed husband. Strangely I couldn't keep my eyes off the screen… thinking to myself that red toolbox is hypnotic (why would she be constantly carrying it) and what tool was she going to use to dispatch the next thug… her choices were quite disappointing. Watching her transformation through the traumatic situation when things are finally turned around is rather empty, due to its unsure tone and the ending is something you could see miles ahead.

Susan Montford's soberly slick direction lacks cohesion and energy, as it pretty much chugs along. I liked the opening credits though, with its hauntingly sullen score (which is the most effective thing throughout the feature) and polished photography.

No great shakes. Doesn't ask much of your time, but I wouldn't care to see it again. However with the inclusion of a Joy Division song, it made me grab a couple of their albums for a listen.

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