Reed Alexander's Horror Review of 'Yellowbrickroad' (2010)
Follow the road to madness...
Great low budget film! I’m calling it right now. This is a Reed Alexander "Must Watch." And here’s the thing, it’s partially found footage which I HATE. But here it doesn’t matter. I mean, the characters are supposed to be a professional film crew so I absolutely wouldn’t forgive them for that "Shaky Camera" bullshit. Here’s the thing though. It was more of a hybrid. While there is a lot of first-person filming, that starts to fade away as the movie progresses and eventually completely disappears. Eventual it’s almost like some mysterious antagonist if filming the crew from the outside.
I'm filing this movie under Lovecraftian Horror. It's not connected to any H.P. Lovecraft story I've read or am aware of, however, the structure and the dynamics are very Lovecraftian. It doesn't even need the tentacle beasty. There's nothing more to this movie than a pack of journalists wandering through the woods in a slow descent into madness. But that's the thing, it really didn't need anything else. The work up and the mythology behind their expedition is enough to keep stringing you along, wondering if there will be something at the end of "the Yellow Brick Road."
That's the best part. It intentionally evokes that dream from the Great Depression era, that something better is off in the distance. That life with color, full of beauty, is right on the other side of the rainbow. Of course, this was the meaning of The Wizard of Oz something that guided people to dream for something better. And that's the trap that get's you in this movie.
You see, these journalists are making a documentary on the disappearance of an entire town, who picked up their stuff, and decided to follow that dream. It ended in their death, deep in the New Hampshire woods. Hundreds died, following some mysterious road to their assumed salvation, when there was nothing on the other side, save misery and madness. The film crew succumbs to this fate as well, searching for explanations as to what happened.
Now technically, this movie fails my "30 Minute Rule" as nothing really happens in the first 30 minutes. But that's the thing. The story just keeps stringing you along much as the road keeps stringing the expedition along. It's the perfect pacing! The movie traps you into the same mind set as the characters, leading you down the yellow brick road, hoping that some sort of salvation will be at the end. You know what’s funny about that? It’s like every ghost hunter TV show where nothing ever happens or they make a big deal out of nothing at all. For the first portion of this movie, the characters feel like they’re just waiting their time, following some bullshit legend. Even though it’s a movie, and you know something has to happen, you sorta start to experience their disappointment.
Now it’s important to remember this movie is low budget and definitely not perfect. The acting can be a little hammy at times and while it actually isn’t bad, I can only say it’s about what you’d expect for horror. There really isn’t any atmosphere at first, save the "Shaky Camera" theme. But this is intentional. It’s supposed to be normal right up until the proverbial shit hits the metaphorical fan. At that point they start moving in with filters and color effects and really start screwing with your perception. The natural world starts to seem alien and that’s really quite well achieved for having nothing but video FX. They did try some practical FX but they were pretty bad. I’m actually surprised they decided to keep them.
I'm not going to spoil anything about this movie. It's a great fucking film and you need to watch it!