In 1940, four-hundred people in a small New Hampshire town all got dressed up for an evening out, but instead walked northward into the woods and were never seen again. Later, an army unit was dispatched to investigate. They found most of the people dead from exposure and several dispatched in unspeakably violent ways. Government files on the subject were classified.
My interest is piqued. What happens next? If you guessed: seven researchers go into the New Hampshire woods on that same trail to find out what happened to those people in 1940– you guessed right. Even though I saw this only a few days ago, I don’t remember the character’s names. To be totally honest, as I was watching it, I couldn’t remember their names. I’ll call them: Researcher Guy, Sensitive Guy, Starvation Barbie, Biff Jockly, Naw Hampshaw Girl, Douchey McGuy and Mrs. McGuy . . . Let’s see. . . That’s one, two, three, four, five, six . . . hmmm. Who am I forgetting? Oh, yeah, Intern Girl. Everyone always forgets Intern Girl.
Researcher Guy gets a hot tip from a creepy guy at a records office regarding the location of the trail I mentioned earlier. He’s been looking for it for years. You see, he’s been writing a book on the subject and the lack of documentation has proven to be a real noodler. The information available has been scanty at best. Now, courtesy of this nameless bureaucrat, he’s got a big fat file and the location of the path’s starting point. The idea of some random desk clerk being helpful and actually apologizing for his office’s effort to stymie Researcher Guy’s earlier efforts to get the information should raise a big red flag. Whatever. Let the big walk up Hell Trail commence!
The story proves to be unimportant. The characters never become anything but the shallow sort of characters that exist to round out a horror movie’s body count. If YellowBrickRoad isn’t driven by characters or story; what is this movie about? I’ve given this some thought and I’ve reached this conclusion: YellowBrickRoad is torture porn—minus the gratuitous gore. The torture is psychological, not physical – so we, the audience, get share in the misery.
Oddly, the one truly gory scene in the entire movie was so out of place that it actually made me laugh. A character’s leg is implausibly pulled from its socket. It is so unbelievable, so over the top, that I could help thinking of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Later, another character walks off a cliff. I saw that one coming. It looked like an animated gif that I might make in Photoshop. I laughed again and I shouldn’t have.
The entire movie is the band of character wandering aimlessly through the woods while loud irritating noises and distorted big band music assault them night and day. The filmmaker’s no doubt thought that slowly driving the characters to madness and despair in that manner would be subtle, atmospheric horror. It’s not. It’s boring. The noises gave me a headache.
There is nothing scary about YellowBrickRoad. It has no monsters. It has no surprises. It’s just pretentious and boring. Each time a character died I felt happy for them. They escaped! Yay! I wish I was that lucky
I considered stopping the movie, but then I would be forfeiting the right to drop a house on YellowBrickRoad. I was in too deep to let this one go.
Highlights: There are a few scenes with good practical make-ups. The acting was good. I can’t fault anyone for being in this movie.
Bottom line: YellowBrickRoad is a boring remake of The Blair Witch Project. It gave me a headache.