Newest Reviews:

New Movies -  

The Tunnel


The Tall Man

Mama Africa





Brownian Movement

Last Ride

[Rec]³: Genesis

Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai

Indie Game: The Movie

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Old Movies -

Touki Bouki: The Journey of the Hyena

Drums Along the Mohawk

The Chase

The Heiress

Show People

The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry



Miracle Mile

The Great Flamarion

Dark Habits

Archives -

Recap: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 , 2005, 2006, 2007 , 2008 , 2009 , 2010 , 2011 , 2012

All reviews alphabetically

All reviews by star rating

All reviews by release year


Screening Log



E-mail me



YellowBrickRoad (Jesse Holland & Andy Mitton, 2010)


YellowBrickRoad, the often-creepy debut feature from directors Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton generates some admirable tension before floundering in its final reel. Ultimately revealed as a premise in search of a plot, YellowBrickRoad does at least offer an intriguing high-concept setup. The film’s mythos revolves around an incident that took place in 1940, in which the residents of a small New Hampshire town followed a trail into the mountains, never to be seen again. The plot, set in 2008, sees a team of researchers go off in search of the truth behind this mass disappearance.  

The initial half hour of YellowBrickRoad seems to be slow going, but the film is carefully setting up the material that it will use to unsettle us later. A series of on-camera interviews conducted by the researchers document the mental deterioration of the expedition party. Behavioral tics begin to exaggerate in intensity. The woods grow increasingly atmospheric, with the cinematography becoming hazier as the film progresses. Before long, the group is in-fighting and murdering one another, seemingly driven mad by the mysterious, looping music that emanates throughout the woods from some unknown source.  

The despairing tone that overtakes YellowBrickRoad, as things get progressively worse with no sense of hope, is the stuff of great horror. At the same time, though, past a certain point, where it becomes quite obvious that everyone is doomed, there is no real suspense either. So, following a mid-film peak, the quality of YellowBrickRoad begins to slope downward. There is little to prepare audiences, however, for the film’s absolutely terrible ending, which presents a Möbius strip of time and space seemingly chosen at random. The last fifteen minutes here, which offer a lame hell-on-earth in lieu of anything resembling an explanation, obliterate the effective groundwork laid by the rest of the film.

YellowBrickRoad not only offers a mystery with no solution (which isn’t such a terrible thing by itself), but also a story with no clear sense of purpose. As the film stumbles to its close, it becomes less and less meaningful. By its end, it becomes apparent that its screenwriters had little but shock effects in mind, which is hugely disappointing given the promise of the initial set up. While it remains impossible to recommend YellowBrickRoad given the nosedive in quality that occurs during its dismount, in its slow buildup of dread, the movie does nonetheless suggest that its makers might have some talent.



Jeremy Heilman