(R, 1:40:51, Released 2011)
|Genres:||Horror, Mystery & Suspense, Special Interest|
|Release Date:||Jun 1, 2011|
|DVD Release Date:||Aug 2, 2011|
|Starring:||Cassidy Freeman, Anessa Ramsey, Clark Freeman, Lee Wilkof, Laura Heisler, Alex Draper, Michael Laurino, Tara Giordano, Sam Elmore|
|Directed by:||Jesse Holland, Andy Mitton|
|Synopsis:||In the Fall of 1940, the entire population of Friar, NH abandoned their homes and walked up an ancient trail, never to be seen alive again. Their fates have remained a mystery for over 70 years, until a team of researchers discover the trailhead and attempt to track the path the doomedcitizens of Friar took. Yellowbrickroad is a return to the slow burn, character driven horror thrillers of the 1970s. -- (C) Official Site|
|Full movie details|
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Other Top Reviews
November 1, 2011
Cast:Cassidy Freeman, Laura Heisler, Lee Wilkof, Anessa Ramsey, Clark Freeman, Alex Draper, Tara Giordano, Michael Laurino, Sam Elmore
Director:Jesse Holland, Andy Mitton
Summary: In this indie horror offering from writer-directors Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton, a small team of explorers heads into the New Hampshire wilderness to investigate an unexplained disappearance that happened some 70 years earlier. No one knows why the residents of Friar made a collective decision to leave their homes -- without their money, their clothes or a word about where they'd gone. But the truth could be stranger than fiction.
My Thoughts: "Long, boring, and absolutely no thrills or scares. At least not for me. I had a hard time keeping my fingers from pressing the stop button. An antagonizing film that just leaves you frustrated for renting it in the first place. But that's what I get for being intrigued by a title and cover of a DVD. The story may have been better if directed and acted by different people. But it wasn't and that's why I would rather watch an episode of Barney then to have to sit through this film again."
January 29, 2012
This movie has a great premise; in the thirties the residents of a small town disappeared after wandering on a trail. Now a documentary team discover the location of the trail and set off themselves to investigate, becoming more and more unhinged as they go. This promising idea is ruined by amateurish acting and directing and awful effects. A rare case of a movie that could be improved with a big budget remake.
July 5, 2013
The only thing disturbing about this movie is that someone actually agreed to make it. I understand that it's an independent film, written, directed, and starring first timers, but anyone who read this script had to have known it just wouldn't work! Don't get me wrong, the story they had was extremely solid, and they could have taken it in a million different directions, any other direction than the one they took. The story starts 70 years ago, when an entire town randomly decides to follow a path into the woods and are never heard from again. The FBI investigated, covered up whatever they found, and kept the whole area off limits, until a random group of people decide to investigate for themselves and write a book about their experiences. First of all, this group of people have no connection to the town, people, or even each other, so why do this? Second, for 70 years the FBI has kept the area off limits to everyone, so what makes this group so special? These idiots march into the woods and the only thing they find is music playing, music that gets progressively louder until it drives them insane. The music is from the Wizard of Oz, but the producers were too cheap to buy the rights to the music from the Wizard of Oz, so it's very similar melodies with different words that nearly drove me to insanity. These idiots romp through the woods makes the Blair Witch Project look like an Oscar worthy film by comparison. It's a lot of talking, and crying, and yelling, that leads to an ending that is by far one of the dumbest fucking things I have ever seen. The ending is the strangest part of all, in that it builds up and plays like it's some huge twist, which maybe it would have been had it made any sense at all. The acting was terrible, the direction was all over the place, and the film destroys the story worst than Paula Deen destroyed her career. This is one film you should absolutely avoid!
July 16, 2012
I liked this one. It just kept me wondering throughout the whole thing. A very good psychological horror flick.
August 8, 2011
Whenever I write a negative review for a low-budget, independently-made horror film, I'm not lacking in encouragement towards the filmmakers. By all means, I do encourage indie films to be made in spite of their flaws. They can lead to eventual success. Or they can lead to more failure. And if they make money, that's great. There are many horror fans and they eat these kinds of films right up. I've seen indie horror films that are possible to like as well as ones that are possible to despise. And now, "YellowBrickRoad" decides to come along, and it's a particularly unpleasant experience.
But that's the point, right? The film is supposed to be atmospheric and unsettling. It is very-much interested in its setting, but not so much for its characters. Shame about that; here is a film that has a pretty good premise, but it runs the formula that it's based around into the ground. It's not fun to watch and it's not necessarily deserving of all the attention it's been getting. But it doesn't surprise me that the folks at Bloody Disgusting, the popular website devoted to horror films, did most of the advertising. But in the end of the day, that doesn't mean too much.
In Friar New Hampshire, it is said that the ENTIRE population of the place just walked out of town and into the woods; following a trail that they believe will lead them to some sort of God. They never returned. And nobody knows just what happened to them, but that's why a film crew goes hiking on this trail to uncover the truth; as all curious movie-hikers do.
It's been seventy years since all the people disappeared, so maybe whatever got them isn't in the woods anymore. But that doesn't matter. What matters is that the film's cast of characters goes on this journey into the depths of the woods anyways; without questioning, and without reasoning. I would have just stayed away.
The film has two directors. One of them is Jesse Holland, and the other is Andy Mitton. The two also wrote the film together. As directors, the two men seem to focus a lot on characterizing their forest rather than the human beings hiking in it. Expect some bleak, but somewhat beautiful shots of the wilderness and such, but not much more. I wouldn't tell you not to see the film, and if you do see it, you might want to just for what the filmmakers are trying to do.
However, trying and doing have never been the same thing, and this is why "YellowBrickRoad" fails so miserably. What it tries to do is build tension and atmosphere rather than use just a whole lot of blood-and-gore, but this approach is almost becoming a pretension among filmmakers. Some people can make a film that is good, and doesn't need gore; others cannot. For instance, Ti West's "The House of the Devil" was all build-up, and yes, it did have a bloody finale. But I liked that film for reasons other than the ones that pertain to why I dislike this one. It gets what makes a good, tense thriller and what makes a bad one. The directors are too inexperienced to glorify this material and bring it to anything worth talking about. The result is overly talky and overlong (and I say that in spite of the nearly-100 minute run-time, which isn't long at all, but oh boy: it certainly feels like it is).
In the end, the film didn't give me enough reasons why I should be awake. There's one scene that literally attacks the viewer with sounds, sight, and insane madness. This scene was meant to be artsy, much like the rest of the film, but instead it's just trying to keep us awake by force; and that's bad, bad, bad. The flick is nothing more than a very, very bad excuse to show people going into the woods, investigating, going mad, and killing each other. There aren't enough good reasons to go on this long, treacherous walk in the woods. Save yourself some time and attention and see something like, say, "Insidious". If this year continues as it is, for the horror genre, then it's going to be as bleak as an independently-filmed trail in the forest.
July 28, 2011
The premise is not that fresh, the pacing is so slow, the deaths are ridiculous and so is the enigmatic ending.
September 6, 2011
A cross between Blair Witch and Session 9 (if you haven't enjoyed neither, you won't like this for sure) with a nice slow pace that has an intriguing premise and delivers for the most part, though the last act is overly long and fails to creep you out like the first "crazy" moments. Could be much better if the last act kept the rythm of the middle section and if that ending was explored a bit more (though keeping it vague and in lines with Oz's mythology tone was a wise decision),
March 16, 2014
YELLOWBRICKROAD (2010) independent
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY: Jesse Holland, Andy Mitton
FEATURING: Cassidy Freeman, Anessa Ramsey, Laura Heisler, Lee Wilkof, Clark Freeman, Michael Laurino, Alex Draper, Tara Giordano, Sam Elmore
TAGS: mystery, puzzler, occult
PLOT: A small entourage of pseudo-anthropologists encounters disorientation, bedlam and horror on the trail of an historic mass disappearance.
COMMENTS: A fortnight ago I discussed the independent puzzler, Resolution (2012). It's plodding and pensive, but delivers on its clever high concept with a disturbing climax. Akin to Resolution, the glibly cyber-entitled Yellowbrickroad follows a like formula and offers a similar experience. It's enigmatic, and saves all of its open-ended answers for its lurid finale. While Yellowbrickroad has fewer puzzler paradoxes than Resolution, first time feature film writer-directors, Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton do a pretty good job considering their half mil micro-budget, incorporating intriguing and colorful elements of mystery, and a couple of relevantly mesmerizing characters.
In Yellowbrickroad, several young academics set out to re-chart a rural New England zone inexplicably reopened and declassified after an unsolved mass exodus emptied a nearby town 70 years in the past. And, you guessed, it, everyone disappeared in them thar hills. Except for their intestines, that is.
OK, not just their intestines. Other parts were found too, but not nearly enough to account for everyone. Some of the emigrants, intestines and all, just...well they just vanished, it we get the general idea.
Or do we?
Because except for several token nods to the 1939 classic, The Wizard Of Oz, Yellowbrickroad's enigma is so perplexing that we mostly forget to question several pretty far-fetched plot holes. Such as why people in the town where everyone disappeared a generation ago are so tight-lipped. If everyone left, presumably today's residents aren't the descendents, and so have no stake in the matter.
But that's OK, because something so unspeakable pervades the locale that just maybe it has a hold on everyone who is afraid to talk about it. One thing's for sure: when a group of 20-somethings venture into the spooky, spooky hills in search of a macabre mystery, we can predict that...well, let's just say, "we knew there'd be death!" A lot of it.
To its credit however, Yellowbrickroad avoids typical deep woods "Boo!" and splatter clichés, instead building on the wilderness atmosphere inherent in being disoriented in a labyrinthine forest. As the team's equipment fails, so do their minds, and the fact-seeking sleuths succumb to bedlam and violence. Time and space mean something different here, and all the while, period music from the era of the disappearance inexplicably wafts across the landscape. The trekkers can't determine it's source -or the way back. The path, nicknamed the "Yellow Brick Road" since its original followers departed from a local theater playing The Wizard Of Oz, held then, as today, some kind of symbolic "way out."
For the woods have swallowed our crew of intrepid explorers, their navigational aids won't work, and there seems to be no way off the trail. Reminiscent of an old fable about suicide, in which those who killed themselves were presumed to be dissatisfied with reality, and wound up sentenced to increasingly topsy-turvy, contrary worlds each time they attempted escape, the Yellow Brick Road in Yellowbrickroad obviously leads to some much weirder reality with the grim caveat of "be careful what you wish for."
Like the aforementioned Resolution, or the engrossing but talky, independent sci-fi thriller, Primer (2004), Yellowbrickroad is a niche film. It takes is dialogue-saturated time delivering us to the sensational payoff. All three vehicles would be more effective as half-hour shorts.
Yellowbrickroad offers some gruesome, blackly comedic skullduggery along the way, however and there's one forceful, enigmatic hint for what is to come: an unsettling sound effect that everyone will instantly recognize, but absolutely not be able to place. Until the ending that is, which slaps you with a sickening epitome of recognition, and of course, this adds to the shock value, making the journey worth the time, even if one has to hasten the hiking pace via judicious use of the Fast Forward button.
December 30, 2013
Whiny women, doofus men & a kickass sound effect lead to nothing. It tried to be surreal & fizzled out...
August 7, 2013
I only got 50 minutes into it. At first the story was interesting, but I got fed up with the acting. The directing was great, but the soundtrack ruined the intense parts.
December 12, 2012
I do appreciate that this is a low budget film and it was shot and editted very well. However, I just didn't really enjoy it. I felt like it was much too long for what we got which was mostly walking. The ending sequence was cool, but I just wish we could have gotten there sooner.
February 13, 2012
Psychological horror shows promise, but towards the middle, the characters start to grate on you and the film begins to lag. They do get an extra 1/2 star, though, for NOT going with the "found footage" approach.
December 31, 2011
A bizarre and offbeat psychological horror movie with some pretty big flaws. The length feels staggering given the subject matter and extremely slowly burning plot, and it leaves so many unanswered questions that the movie almost has no payoff.
fb677587177December 17, 2011
This film is too disjointed and confusing for me to feel justified in giving it a rave review, but there's something strangely fascinating about it nonetheless. Really, my biggest problem with it was the incredibly fake New England accents. Why can no one pull those off? But besides that, I thought this was well-acted, and although it's painfully obvious the budget was almost nonexistent, this is quite a well-made independent film. Don't watch it if you don't enjoy movies that are hard to follow, though, or if you think a huge budget is necessary for an entertaining movie.
November 29, 2011
this has to be THE worst film I have ever seen. almost fell asleep in the first 30 minutes, oh how I wish I had. A complete waste of time. Hell, I`m wasting my time even writing about it. Not any more.
November 12, 2011
Low budget and longwinded, this sci-fi/horror thriller tries to be too much like Blair Witch and takes forever to make its point. Some spooky moments though, as a team of filmmakers set out to produce a documentary about a mysterious trail which leads people to my favorite place: Oblivion.