5 days ago
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Finding Death Down The Road
The film opens in the year 2002. We see a party going on, along with a lot of drinking. The next day we see a young girl playing hopscotch in the street, while her dad looks on. We then see her get hit by a car that has drunk teenagers in it. The 12 year old girl is killed but the driver doesn't get much out of it for punishment. In the present day, we meet Jenn (Jen Dance) who has just gotten out of the hospital. Her parents want her to get out with some friends, which she decides to do eventually. Her group of friends pick her up and they all go camping. After they set up camp, one of them starts to tell a story about the girl that was killed. He says that since that time, people who come into the woods to party are never seen alive again. Of course they laugh the story off, but sometimes stories have a way of being true.
Down The Road is another movie in which the film makers were there. We were told that this was the first time the film has been screened, and then writer/director Jason Christopher, the producer, props guy, and Chelsey Garner (who plays Michele) came up on stage to talk about the film a little bit. Christopher tells us that he wrote the script when he was 17, filmed it when he was 22, and is now 23. His dad passed away when he was a young kid, so he dedicated the film to him. After the film they came back up to do a q&a with everyone. As someone else suggested, don't do a lot of drinking before showing off your film. I understand that they were all nervous, but it just gives the wrong impression. Chelsey Garner was the only one not drinking which gave the impression that she is as classy as she looks. After getting a half hearted response if everyone liked their film or not, the props guy goes into a little rant about how the film was only made for $40,000, so we should keep that in mind (that was the short end of what he said by the way). Having reviewed more than my share of low budget movies, I have learned not to care how much the movie was made for, but to look at the film like any other film.
Much like the movie before it, The Sleeper, Down The Road was being called a retro slasher flick. Maybe it was, but unlike the last film, this one didn't really remind of any of the films that came before it. I'm not saying that as a bad thing though. Sure the plot of people going into an area to party and have a good time, being warned off by a local and ignoring said warning only to be killed off like promised, has been done plenty of times before. What sets Down The Road apart from most other slashers though is that the killer has a purpose. Not all have a purpose of course, and those films that don't give a reason for the killing are usually just fine by me. It wasn't clear right away if it was the father going around killing, but once we see him talking about it, we know for sure. The film itself was a little on the slow side at first, but not real bad. The only thing that bugged me was that they made a point to show that Jenn was taking pills, assuming for whatever reason she was in the hospital for. They also make the point of showing that she loses them while running for her life. It turns out to be a moot point though. She never seems to act differently. She does start to ramble a lot at times, but I just assumed that had to do with her being scared, and not because she lost her pills.
The effects were pretty good. Nothing major was done, but they all still look good. At times it was hard to tell what was going on because of all the camera movement. Like I didn't even realize that one person had been hit until they showed him on the ground later on. I know where in the film he was hit, but because of the camera movement, I just didn't make that connection. The acting was also well done. Brian Gallagher does a great job playing the father that lost his daughter. He really gets across the pain that he feels, and the revenge that he wants. Another stand out was the guy that was the odd man out of the group. I believe he was played by Chris Ready. If I am wrong, I do apologize in advance. It was getting late and I had a long day, so the character name has slipped my mind. All the other actors did just fine as well. You can also find Shaun Paul Costello, David J. Bonner, Nikki Bell and Matthew Nadu.
I wasn't blown away by Down The Road, but I was pleased with it. The weapons used to kill may not have been the best choice, a sledge hammer was used most often, but it was different at least. I thought some things could have been done a little differently in order to avoid confusion, but overall it wasn't too bad of a movie. I did find it ironic that this was a movie about drunk driving, in a way, and then the film makers show up drunk, or at least well on their way. But that doesn't change my view of their film. Christopher did mention that if Down The Road does well on DVD, he would like to make a sequel. He has more of the story to tell apparently. The way this one ends, it could have a sequel if they wanted to make one. Worth checking out sometime once it is out there.
3 out of 5 Should have asked Garner how she liked getting her leg sawed into