Monday, July 4, 2011
Directed by Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton
Cassidy Freeman - Erin Luger
Anessa Ramsey - Melissa Barnes
Clark Freeman - Daryl Luger
1940: the entire population of Friar, New Hampshire walked up a winding mountain trail, leaving everything behind. 2008: the first official expedition into the wilderness attempts to solve the mystery of the lost citizens of Friar.
If there is one thing I really don't like about where I live, it's that not a lot of smaller or independent movies makes it here. There used to be a small theater that used to run cult and classic movies on weekend nights at midnight as well as show newer small release movies as well. The sad thing is that it closed over 10 years ago. There was a fair amount of great times that happened there while watching showings of Pulp Fiction and The Crow. Not to mention I miss there chocolate milkshakes. After the theater closed down the chance of seeing something weird was regulated to VHS and DVD watching, and if people were lucky the cheap mall theater would get in a weird new movie for a week before it was gone again (this is how I was able to watch Midnight Meat Train on the big screen, and it was worth it!) Now the AMC Theater chain has teamed up with the Bloody Disgusting website to release some of newer horror movies and I just have to applaud their effort to bring less studio influenced horror movies to the fans. YellowBrickRoad is the first of these releases and one I've been wanting to see since last year when I heard about it.
The plot of the movie is fairly simple and has been done before, such as group of explorers go searching for an answer to some mystery and weird and terrible things start to happen. These type of movies can fail or succeed on the actors and how they interact with one another. For the most part this movie does well with this due to help by Alex Draper's Walter, who is the one true voice of reason throughout the whole movie. Even when he succumbs to the madness, he doesn't go over bored by trying to overact it, yet he downplays it and that in return enhances the pain his character suffers. The other bright spot acting wise is Anessa Ramsey's Melissa, as the one character that doesn't lose her mind thanks to the journey yet loses everything at the same time and knows that she is losing everything. On the opposite side of the acting spectrum is Sam Elmore's Cy. There's chewing scenery which is where the actor takes over the scene, and then there's over-acting which is what we have here when an actor is new and tries to do more than what that person is capable of at the moment. This is Elmore's problem as he doesn't have the experience yet to try and steal each scene he's in and it shows.
While the film looks amazing and the setting of closed wilderness helps with the feel of the movie, it also detracts from what the film is trying to accomplish which is something gritty and visceral. The reason why is because the film looks to polished and slick. Maybe if the filmmakers put some type of grain filter on the camera to make it look less polished it would have helped. The main draw of the film is the story and for the most part it works wonderfully, until the explorers split into different groups and the film is fractured trying to follow four different storylines when there was only one do begin with. Though it does follow through and shows what happens to all the players in the movie and their own trek down the road, it still slows down the story and only two of the characters ending are satisfactory and a third's is somewhat cool, the rest is just left hanging and not giving a true ending. Another draw back is the use of CG in spot. One sore spot with movies with me is bad CG and this movie has it, even though it's only in spot, it still ruined the scene it was in and in turn brought me out of the movie and ruined the tension of the scene it was in.
This is one of those movies where the audience is either going to love it or hate it. I'm not going to say why, though it does deal with the end of the film. I, myself, liked it. Specially due to one of the final images shown. The atmosphere in the movie can actually be felt through most of the film and the sound design plays into it as well which also heightens the tension to what is happening. The unevenness of the movie stops it from being truly an exceptional film though as nothing is truly explained, which isn't always a bad thing in movies yet with this one it would have helped as not one thing is actually explained. Though I will say with YellowBrickRoad, it is the journey more than the destination that matters most in it and what happens to all involved.
Old fashion amputation by way of the stone age! Yet it's the scarecrow that truly disturbs.
These questions will kill us.
Many of the cast and crew began experiencing vivid nightmares starting on the second week of filming.
The sibling characters of Daryl and Erin Luger are played by real life siblings Clark and Cassidy Freeman.
The Rialto Theater is an actual theater in Lancaster, NH and was originally built in 1930.
Filmed in 20 days in the isolated, remote region of Pittsburg, NH.