Director: Yam Laranas
MPAA Rating: R
Film Pulse Score: 5.5/10
Pieced together in three interwoven acts, the Filipino film The Road, sets out to scare and engage viewers with it’s complicated structuring and grotesque imagery. While the story is complex, spanning more than two decades, the film does little new in the realm of frights, and contains some stylistic problems.
Although the overarching plot of The Road can be somewhat convoluted, the story revolves around an old dirt road, and the horrors that take place on said road. While investigating the murder of three kids on the road, police uncover the body of a missing teenager from ten years prior. The film is divided into three sections, 2008, 1998, and 1988, and although each section almost feels like a different movie, they are all tied together in one bloody package.
The first thing one notices about this film, is that it’s clearly a low budget production. This alone doesn’t reflect badly on the film, but if there was a bigger budget, we may have been able to see some better camera work and better effects. While some of the shots looked quite good and almost artistic, the overuse of blur and slow motion detracted from an otherwise good looking film. Mostly taking place either in a bland forest, a bland road, or a bland dilapidated house, we’re occasionally given glimpses of very well shot scenery and moments of vivid color. This juxtaposition lends itself to the story, and helps add a bit of richness to an otherwise mediocre backdrop.
The acting, and more specifically the actions of the children in the film were also problematic. In many horror movies we see characters do idiotic things that defy any type of common sense or logic. This holds true for The Road, and as a bonus, we get whining children that are overacting as well.
It’s the compelling story that is this movie’s saving grace. While it takes nearly the entire first act to get going, once the pieces start fitting together, it’s hard not to become enthralled in this film’s grasp. Even if many of the supernatural elements are not explained, the climax makes it worth the price of admission.
The Road is not the best horror movie of the year, nor is it even the best to come out this month, but it is a solid entry in a genre known for it’s cliches. Maybe this follows these cliches a bit too much, and maybe it’s slightly unpolished, but it remains that The Road is an enjoyable and engaging fright-flick.