Film Reviews

YellowBrickRoad: indie horror à la The Blair Witch Project

Eight people venture into the remote woods of northern New Hampshire. Care to guess how many get out alive? This indie horror flick by Andy Mitton and Jesse Holland stands squarely on the shoulders of The Blair Witch Project. One of the party's leaders even does video interviews to chronicle his team's slow psychological breakdown in a zone where the compass spins wildly and strange aural hallucinations lead to madness. You can't say they weren't warned. The group is researching a book about the 1940 disappearance of an entire small-town population that followed the same haunted trail to oblivion. And certainly they're aware of the danger in duplicating that fatal trek. ("We're going to need a bigger boat," one jests.) Not particularly gory or suspenseful, YellowBrickRoad confuses enigmas with metaphors as the trekkers debate whether the intoxicating melodies and painful clanging sounds in the air are some sort of virus or collective insanity, and the forgotten path itself becomes a symbol of some dreadful something. "You always know it's there," says one woman, "a way out." The film is caught in the fatal demographic desert between the Scream and Baghead crowds — neither funny nor quirky enough to sustain interest during its long march. As the clueless eight stumble through the mysterious forest, you half-expect them to find a field station for the Dharma Project — which might have yielded a better movie.

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Miller, Brian