First off... set the mood:
Ah... nice right? Takes you back and makes you feel kind of like you've just smoked a doobie with your bros in the back of a conversion van with a port hole window... Yeah... That's not going to fucking work for this review at all. Ok, I have an idea.
Thank the Butchers for the that one. Better than your flashbacks of buying dime bags off the school bully after he gave you a wedgey in the fucking boys room. ON TO THE REVIEW (it's about time!).
If a your friends maniacally annihilate you in the woods, do you make a sound? For some reason the classic philosophical question of the proverbial tree and the rather perturbing sound stuck with me through the length of the movie YellowBrickRoad (one word). I suppose that a movie that has me thinking of the wonderful Wizard of Oz the whole time can't be all bad. After all, the Wizard of Oz is deeply rooted in at least 20% of my childhood viewing memories; early childhood, before my dad got a hold of my impressionable lobes. So what do Munchkins have to do with YellowBrickRoad? Will you find any talking trees with futures in baseball? No. When you're not off to see the wizard, nothing good can become of following a road of yellow bricks (even though it's really just a metaphor at this point... taking it literally is so much more fun).
The Tagline: "They were searching for an evil in the forest. . .but the forest found the evil in them."... this had me thinking of the classic Nietzche statement, "when you look into the abyss, the abyss also looks into you". No two ways about it. This movie is trying to be an intelligent, artistic vision of psychological terror mixed with just a hint of urban legend based in reality horror. Mix with some non-gore sequences but none the less disturbing visions of friends attacking one another and you end up with something that isn't quite shocking. Not funny, but somewhat thought provoking (at least the ending is).
The effects are good for an indy film. Tom Savini was not called in to assist a bunch of struggling young filmmakers, but you're not looking at the jug o' blood from Party City either. Cinematography is better than most films being release out of Hollywood(y) these days. It's not overly produced to give you the effect that your actually watching a film. It's lit and shot so that it places you directly in this woods with our protagonist. Quite often with indy efforts sound quality seems to take a back seat to effects, but for this picture it's paramount that they are up to snuff; they are up to snuff. Feels good when an indy film comes together.
The movie is paced so drudgingly slow. The MTV generation will not be able to stand the pain and suffering of moments without action filled with dialogue that moves the plot forward intellectually rather than via action sequence after action sequence. Don't show this movie at midnight during your movie marathon or you won't make it to the next movie. Watch it early on so you have a fresh mind to chisel away at the twists and turns this road has to offer. You'd think a picture with this much psycho sexual sequences would have you jumping up and down in your seat yelling, "show us your tits", but that is exactly not what happens. It might be advised to drink less caffeine as well. Might help you slow down to its pace rather than inspiring a yelling fit a la road rage at the elderly driver taking five minutes to make a right hand turn.
Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton, the writers and directors of this picture, have done well to deliver some powerful scenes of outright insanity, but they fail to glue it together in a way that keeps the movie truckin' along. This is really half a pacing issue and the other half a slightly (emphasis on slightly) broken narrative. Sure, you get from beginning to end and you have a story; while it may be an amalgamation of several different tropes of the horror genre it is not unoriginal especially in its ending ... ready for the slight, sort of kind of, spoiler.... not really a spoiler but if I don't say that you'll all tell me I fuckin' spoiled the ending ven though this is a product of my own disturbing correlation... The ending instantly flashed me to back to Alice being sucked into the movie screen during Nightmare on Elm Street Part 4: The Dream Master. It's not identical by any means, but and definitely not a rip off but I've said to much already. So go watch the movie and let me know if it made you think of that scene for any reason.
I'll tell you also that at first I thought the sound quality in this picture was shitty. I kept hearing this overblown music that would come out of nowhere. The characters heard it, but I thought, "Man, can't even mix the sound correctly". Until the movie fully develops, do not judge this aspect of the film and just take solace in knowing that this "apparent glitch" doth bring much fruit.
It's a great effort by this newbie director/writer duo. Each has done a modicum of work on shorts etc, but this is their Bloody Disgusting Select and feature film debut. It's a great showing. Hopefully they keep up the moment and use some of the very same actors in future projects. I rather enjoyed their performances, the story line and some of the more violent bits. I only take issue with the pacing and the fact that the narrative didn't seem to congenial to glue the violent bits together. The beef is there... Now we need the bun.
This blog written while listening to Goodbye Yellow Brick Road by Elton John. Take issue with that our any of my half baked Wizard of Oz references and realize that you may be playing the Scarecrow in my own personal rendition of this L. Frank Baum classic. Tee hee hee...
Bet you thought I was going to post a video of the Munchkins singing, "Follow the Yellow Brick Road" right... right?
Captain Beefheart ate all the munchkins! :BURP: