There are several things to like in the movie. There’s gore, some decent acting, the photography in some of the scenes is great, and the background and foreground music works well. Basically it all just works.
But there are some aspects that just won’t fly with everyone. Whatever story development takes place it’s mostly in the beginning of the movie which means that nothing real interesting takes place within the first forty minutes of the film. Also this piece can be best described as a slow descent into madness (i.e. The Shining) and that either works for you or it doesn’t, there is no real middle ground. It’s a slow and methodical descent that you don’t even really see happening at first and by the time you do you realize it’s been going on for quite some time now.
The story is simple. In the year 1940 the entire population of a small town in New Hampshire takes off on a walk down a wooded trail for reasons unknown. Sometime later, everyone is either found dead or never found at all. Fast forward to today and the confidential materials behind the situation have now been released publicly. This sparks a group of wannabe researchers to want to walk the same trail and find out exactly what happened to them and why they went in the first place, documenting their little expedition as they go. Think The Blair Witch Project except that only some of the scenes are shown through the eyes of the handheld cameras the researchers have.
The directors, Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton, do a good job of making it easy to feel what the actors are going through. The shaky cam work to imply something loud and paralyzing, a wonderful soundtrack (that is best experienced in the theater) some of which is part of the story and the researchers are hearing, and the great photography work to accent the isolation they are experiencing in those New Hampshire woods are all well done. Overall, as much as the story of people going out into the woods and going crazy has been done to death, when watching YellowBrickRoad you don’t get the feeling you’re seeing something you’ve seen before which was appealing to me.
If I have any real complaints it is with the ending. Call me and stupid and maybe I just don’t get it, but the ending really makes no sense and if you let yourself think what you think it means, the rest of the movie was surely not the best way to arrive there. Maybe it’s me, I’d be curious your thoughts.
The budget for this film allowed for some decent actors, my favorites here being Laura Heisler, Anessa Ramsey and Clark Freeman who all gave great performances. You can get more information on the DVD here. It’s a definite purchase for me as I love these type films, but as I said in the beginning it’s not for every Horror fan. It is currently available on Netflix streaming.