Monday, June 13, 2011


Huh; sometime between when I saw Rammbock and when I saw Yellowbrickroad, AMC's " Selects" became "Night Terrors". It got posters and standees hung up around the Boston Common theater as well, which I don't remember seeing for Rammbock. Interestingly, AMC's website shows it as " Selects Night Terrors", although the signage in the theater didn't have any mention of the website.

The shift is interesting, and I'm curious as to the reasons behind it. Was the name Bloody-Disgusting off-putting to some would-be audience members, making its inclusion in the title counter-productive (though somewhat recognized as an authority by those familiar with the site, the name means little to others)? Or was it just considered inaccurate? After all, while Rammbock had some zombie gore, Yellowbrickroad only really has one gross-out moment, and the movie doesn't really wallow in it. Cold Fish, next month, is going to earn the Bloody-Disgusting label, though.

Anyway, it's interesting to see what seems like a bigger push for Yellowbrickroad. Of the initial three movies, it's the English-language one, and the one that is a conventional length (Rammbock is German and short; Cold Fish is Japanese and long). I'm kind of surprised that it wasn't the first in the series, to be honest, especially since this really seems like an audition, with nothing on the schedule beyond July right now. This one at least got more people into the theater, and I'm hoping it gets good word-of-mouth - beyond liking the idea for the series, I dig this movie on an individual basis. It's kind of a mess, but it gave me chills, and that's hard to do. Kept me fairly awake and alert after very little sleep the previous night (hey, the Red Sox start a rain-delayed game you think you're going to miss at 10:30pm, you accept the favor and enjoy the seventh inning stomping of the Yankees, no matter how late it gets), a full day at work, and two films noir down the street earlier in the evening. That's an uphill battle, and I strongly suspect this movie could have done the job even without the big ol' Coke Zero.

That said, I don't mind that I'll probably be able to avoid the late, late night next month - I saw (and dug) Cold Fish at BUFF, and will happily purchase a Blu-ray (or DVD, if that's all they'll offer me) rather than stay up until roughly 3:30am watching the movie and then walking home. Everyone else should do that, though, because it's pretty great Sion Sono stuff.


* * * ¼ (out of four)
Seen 10 June 2011 in AMC Boston Common #15 (Night Terrors)

Yellowbrickroad is a movie constructed out of every tangentially-related spooky idea that its makers could graft onto the setting, and that grab-bag approach can be a dangerous way to put a movie together, even one where the usual rules may not apply. The demand for rigor can go out the window if a movie can at least give the audience goosebumps, though, and this one does regularly succeed at lowering the temperature of the room.

In 1940, the film posits, the residents of Friar, New Hampshire, all left their homes and walked into the woods. Most were never seen again, others were found brutally killed, and the one survivor was driven insane. In the present day, Teddy Barnes (Michael Laurino) gets hold of the government's records on this with the intent of putting together a book on the subject. He'll photograph, while his wife and co-author Melissa (Anessa Ramsey) will be the field leader. Also along are their friend Walter Myrick (Alex Draper), a psychologist studying the group's reactions; Cy Banbridge (Sam Elmore) from the Forestry Service; Daryl (Clark Freeman) and Erin Luger (Cassidy Freeman), sibling cartographers; Jill the intern (Tara Giordano); and Liv McCann (Laura Heisler), the one local interested in helping. As they go deeper into the woods, things start to get weird - Jill's GPS becomes extremely unreliable, Daryl finds an old-fashioned but new-looking hat, and the sound of seventy-year-old music seems to be coming from the end of the trail.

If the trail even has an end, of course. The woods can seem disorienting and impossible to escape in real life; in a movie that allows for the supernatural, well, everybody knows the drill by now. To their credit, filmmakers Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton don't push that angle early - the GPS which alternately puts them in Guam, South American, and Australia may just be busted, and having a pair of mapmakers along both pushes it off and means that when it does appear, the characters are extraordinarily screwed. In the meantime, the audience isn't stuck being told that the characters are lost when they can't visually tell one bit of woods from another.

Full review at EFC.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

this movie is pretty cool the ending could of been better though