In the world of horror there is much parity. And in an era of seemingly endless remakes it always a breath of fresh air when a film comes along that doesn’t follow the same old tropes. Like inhaling a Ricola brand cough drop, “YellowBrickRoad” is a refreshing bit of horror cinema. And, like Ricola, it made me want to blow a Swiss guy’s large horn. Wait. It didn’t do that. I swear. Unfortunately for YBR, being unique doesn’t matter if the film itself is a messy bit of meandering nonsense.
A modern day writer gets the golden ticket to his dream book. Case files of the most extraordinary, detailing the mysterious disappearance of a small New Hampshire town in 1940. The entire town abandoned their houses (and even their dogs – what jerks!) to tromp up a trail for no apparent reason. All that was found in the aftermath were the slaughtered and mutilated bodies of the villagers — save one raving lunatic who’d lost his mine in a Poe-esque manner. The writer assembles a team of hikers, including three women, who all have a striking resemblance to Amy Poehler, to walk up the trail (no one has in over 70 years now). Queue the ominous music. Literally.
Old timey tunes begin haunting the ill-fated hikers. First it’s barely audible, but over time becomes a deafening and disturbing presence. It seems the music has no origin. The hikers consider going back, but as in any self-respecting horror movie, mistakes are made. One of the hikers, I named him Yogi the Magic Leg Removing Man, presumably because the trail has made him crazy, loses his sh*t and kills his girlfriend. This should have been an intensely creepy moment in the film. Yogi (because of the green forester hat he likes to wear) manages to tackle his girlfriend and, in a very ungentlemanly move tears her left leg clean off. Really. This happened. My friend and I both looked at each other and giggled. At least I thought she giggled. Maybe she had gas and was trying to hide it. I don’t know. Women are hard. The only sure thing is that I hoped she doesn’t reconsider going to another movie with me after reading this.
It’s important to understand how much the aforementioned scene derails the movie. Up until this point a taught, unnerving, and realistic story was unfolding. And them BAM, the film loses a massive black hole level of credibility. I checked out. Just to give reference, this scene from “Hercules”, in which he chucks a bear into outer space, is more plausible.
The group soldiers on, always heading north up the trail, while their mental states grow continually worse. Like Gary Busey levels of worse. More mistakes are made. The maps are inaccurate. The GPS unit gleefully states they are in Australia (“The dingo ate my baby!”) or Florence (“Bonjourno!”). Bad forest berries are eaten. The music becomes ear-piercingly loud. After much deliberation and wandering AND wandering (not to mention boring time-wasting) they all decide to split up and wander around some more. It’s that kind of movie. Basically, the film goes nowhere after the leg murder. “YellowBrickRoad” blew its plot wad on one ridiculous idea.
After wandering around even more, a bizarre conjecture of the story lines finally comes to a climax. Usually I like climaxes. I mean, who doesn’t? They tidy up and recall things from earlier leaving us satiated and satisfied. The Swiss guy in the Ricola commercial sure liked his. Wait. I swear that didn’t happen. YBR’s climax is – how do I say this nicely? – unfulfilling. The premise is there. The vibe is there. The music is there. The acting is there. The execution is not.
Snore Factor: ZZZZ (Sleepy)