Friday, January 4, 2019

YELLOWBRICKROAD (2010) movie review

YellowBrickRoad (2010) d. Jesse Holland / Andy Mitton (USA)

The writing/directing team of Holland & Mitton conjure an incredibly rich scenario, then people it with an exemplary array of characters such that the first 45 minutes of this well-crafted yarn were literally spent on the edge of my seat. The wonderfully simple premise – a group of researchers seeking to unravel the mystery of a New Hampshire village’s population who, one quiet day in 1940, simply wandered out of town and disappeared forever – is so well cultivated, with creepy, organic atmosphere to spare, one feels like applauding each passing scene for its chutzpah and execution. (The high point is a mid-film gore set-piece aka “the leg scene” that had me squirming and muttering, “Holy crap, ain’t never seen that before... and I’m not sure I needed to.”)

However, after maintaining “modern classic” strides for its first half, YBR abruptly runs out of gas, sputtering in narrative circles, leaving us with nothing more than a bunch of folks lost in the woods going crazy. (If you’ve ever wanted to watch a non-shaky-cam Blair Witch Project with three times the cast and minus the stellar finale, look no further.)

The creative duo’s failure to deliver a satisfying resolution to what started out so strong is probably the greatest disappointment, akin to watching a world-class runner blow himself out early, stumbling, meandering, limping, and finally dropping exhausted on the side of the road.

"Um... we're still waiting on those final script pages. Please hold...."

Worth seeing, but the unrealized potential is wildly frustrating.


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