Oct 30, 2013

Day 30: The Road (2011)

Can a once-prolific blogger who hasn't written 31 posts all year find it in his soul to review 31 previously unseen horror films in 31 days of October? Let's find out...

It's the penultimate day of October 2013, and we are reviewing our 30th film of the month. That's the royal "we". I just love the word "penultimate", it always makes me think of this. OK, in that clip Simon and Hecubus were in the Pit of Ultimate Darkness, but trust me...there was one episode that came from the Pit of Penultimate Darkness. Apparently there was a pit that was just slightly darker than that one. Where were we, the royal "we"? Ah, yes...

The Road is not the film based on the Cormac McCarthy novel that you are all thinking of. Nope, this is an independent horror film out of the Philippines. My very first Filipino horror flick, I believe. The story of the film is told in three parts. In Part I, which takes place in 2008, we see a police officer receive a commendation even though his commander thinks he takes too many chances. A woman approaches him and asks him to look into the 12-year old cold case of her missing daughters. They went missing in 1998, so unless they do math differently in the Philippines the current year should be 2010. Hmm...

Warning: if you plan on watching this on Netflix, as I am doing, you may find yourself too annoyed at the subtitles to even continue on with the film at this point. Despite some of it being in heavily-accented English, there are basically two sets of subtitles going on along the bottom of the screen. Sometimes saying two slightly different things. I'm a subtitle freak, so I actually didn't mind it. But I can see how someone would. Fair warning.

Remaining in present time, the action moves to a teenaged girl who sneaks out at night with her cousin and her cousin's boyfriend. They borrow her aunt's car so that the boy can teach the girls how to drive for their upcoming driving exams. They find an isolated stretch of road, and we all know that nothing bad ever happens on isolated stretches of road. They keep getting passed by a red car that appears to have no driver. Bad supernatural shit happens.

Our police officer from the beginning of the film is a part of the crew investigating what happened. He finds a connection to the missing girls from 12 (or 10) years ago. And the film now moves to 1998 to tell their story as their disappearance occurred on the same isolated stretch of road. Then it winds up in 1988 to tell the first/last part of the tale.

This a dark and brutal film. And more than a little confusing, especially with the language and subtitle issues. The second act, in particular, was difficult to slog through. Seemed...pointless at the time. And long. Only to be sorta explained by the third act. But it was atmospheric and well-made, for the most part. Just feels like they could have tightened things up a little bit as it felt like it ran long. Recommended, but only if you have patience for this kind of thing. Or if you make some kind of promise to review 31 never-before-seen horror films in a month like I did. Ultimately, I found the ending to be rewarding. But I don't think many of you will make it that far.

Verdant Dude rating: 3 out of 5 pumpkins

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