THE ROAD (2012) Review

Directed by: Yam Laranas
Starring: TJ Trinidad, Carmina Villaroel, Barbie Forteza

I've never before watched a Filipino movie of any kind let alone a horror film, but THE ROAD seemed like as good a place as any to start. And while it wasn't exactly what I was expecting or hoping for in terms of horror, it was still quite an entertaining and original movie that I'm glad I watched.

THE ROAD tells the story of a cold cold case concerning two missing girls, but not quite in the way that you would expect. It is actually told in three distinct parts which span across three decades from 1988 through to 2008. The first part is set in 2008 and follows two girls and a boy who take a detour down an old closed off road in order to avoid the cops. They have a run in with a driver-less car which seems to be harassing them. This ghost car then crashes and when they go to investigate they find an old burned out shell of a car which looks as though it has been there for years. Soon the children find themselves haunted by ghostly apparitions and they are sent running, but not before one of them can call their father to tell him where they are. When the father and the police turn up they find two of the children dead and the third missing.
They also find the burned out car which matches the victim of the previously mentioned cold cold case.

Part 2 is set a decade previously in 1998 and follows two girls who are the victims of said cold case. They are driving along the road (apparently before it had been closed off) when their car overheats. They ask a passing boy where they can get some water and he directs them to his house. When they arrive they are attacked and chained up inside the house.

Part 3 goes back a decade further to 1988 and is all about the teenage boy who attacks the two girls in part 2. He is obviously a lot younger and living at home with his abusive mother and spineless father. His mother forbids him to leave the house and if he misbehaves she locks him in a wardrobe. She threatens to leave the boy's father and the next day has mysteriously disappeared. The boy however is still haunted by his mother's voice.

Small segments from 2008 are interspersed through the story and by the end everything ties together quite nicely. There is somewhat of a twist at the end but it's honestly not that hard to figure out.
Dividing movies into segments before combining them all together at the end is hardly a new concept, but it is done considerably well here and each part is different enough to keep you from getting bored. Having said that, it is quite a slow burn type of film and you will have to be patient.

As a horror movie THE ROAD unfortunately isn't scary, in fact I wouldn't really consider it much of a horror film at all. It's more of a thriller / drama with some supernatural horror elements thrown in, but there are a few nice creepy moments and a little disturbing imagery as well.
Having the story broken down and spread across three decades has of course caused a fair number of plot holes but not so many to really distract or worry viewers. Unfortunately the writing and acting range from poor to average, but the cinematography and lighting are exceptional. The opening credits and accompanying music are really good at setting the right mood too.

SCARY? Unfortunately no. Some supernatural elements have been thrown in which some may find a bit creepy, but scary? Nope.

SHOCKING? Not much in the way of gore although some of the practical effects look quite good, but nothing shocking here.

SEXY? Nope.


SO, WHAT'S THE VERDICT? A nicely crafted story, but not really as scary as it could or probably should have been. And it's definitely not as scary or disturbing as it has been marketed. Worth seeing if you're a fan of foreign films, but it's nothing ground-breaking. I still enjoyed it.

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