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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

YellowBrickRoad - YellowBrickRoad(Blu Ray) [Lightyear Entertainment - 2022]

YellowBrickRoad is an early 2010 take on the lost-in-woods thriller come horror film, which is competently enough executed with some interesting ideas/ imagery along its length. Though I’d say this is much more of a slow-burn drama/ light thriller - with the horror elements feeling somewhat underdeveloped/ not as impactful as they should be. Here we a recent Blu-Ray reissue of the film, taking in a director’s commentary & actor’s interviews.

Released in the year 2010, YellowBrickRoad( aka Vanished) was jointly directed and written by Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton. Holland has a few other directorial & writer credits, and Milton has six writers/ directors credits- the most recent of these being The Harbinger (2022) which is seemingly a nightmare-focused horror film.

The film pre-credits tell us of Friar, New Hampshire – where in the year 1940, the whole town's population walked on mass up a mountain trail, some froze to death, but most disappeared without a trace. Seemingly only one person survived, and we hear the disturbed/ ranting recording of the man, and he is apparently covering his ears up, trying to block something out. 

We get into the film, and we meet three key characters- there’s husband and wife writing duo Teddy (Michael Lauirio) and Melissa Barnes (Anessa Ramsey), and their long-term friend Dr Walter Myrick (Alex Draper). The three have gathered together a selection of three/ four other folk, taking cartographer husband and wife Darly (Clarke Freeman) & Erin (Cassidy Freeman) a tracker, and an intern.  The group head for the town of Friar- and here they meet Liv McCann (Laura Heisler) who claims her grandfather was in town when everyone walked, and she knows where the yellow brick road begins. 

As the group make their way through the woods Dr Myrick checks all is ok, by recording short sessions with each- this he records on a digital video camera, and these are dotted throughout the film. As they move along where they think the road is, all seems well enough- we get a lot of intern ribbing, and general banter. Things start to turn when Darly finds a 1940s man’s hat in the wood- it’s seemingly in very good condition. As they move on, they start to hear drifting hints of 40’s music, and members of the group start acting up.

The film has a few moments of jarring gore/ horror, but largely it finds the group slowly but surely breaking down. The acting for the most part is pretty good, the issue here is the script as it teases interesting turns and suggestions on what really is going on. But ultimately the film just lacked any real reveal, sure that can sometimes work- but you need a bit more than the minimal plotting breadcrumbs we find here.  In the end, YellowBrickRoad was a passable enough addition to the whole lost in the woods genre, I just felt it lacked enough real tension,  the horror elements largely don’t hit home, and there is no big reveal/ resolve at the end of the film, which does run around twenty minutes too long at the one hour and forty-minute mark.

 

Moving onto this special edition blu ray- and it’s a region-free affair. On the new extras front, we get good selection interviews- these are with the film's co-writers/ directors, the film's producer, and one of the film's actors. These are filmed on video, and run between six and thirty-eight minutes a piece. We have a behind-the-scenes featurette, which runs just over the seven-minute mark. And we have an eleven-minute effects featurette. Also on the archive side, we get a commentary track from the two directors/ writers. So, a good selection of extras, which are well worth a look if you enjoyed the film.

 

In finishing I wanted to like YellowBrickHorror more than I did, as in theory, I should love it, as I’m a sucker for lost-in-the-woods/ folklore horror. But for me, the film just lacked the impact, real chills, and rewarding resolve it needed to make it stand out from the other films in this horror-sub genre.

Rating: 2 out of 5Rating: 2 out of 5Rating: 2 out of 5Rating: 2 out of 5Rating: 2 out of 5

Roger Batty
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