There were things I liked about Yellowbrickroad and things I didn’t. The premise is cool. In the 1940s the population of an entire fictional New Hampshire town walks off into the mountains and vanishes. Search efforts recovered some bodies in unnatural states of death, but a large portion of the populace remains unfound. In modern day, a group sets out to retrace their steps, follow their trail and try to get some answers. Their journey takes them deep into the still uncharted mountains where mysterious music can be heard and the further they go, the more they seem to lose their minds and some lose their lives. Will they find out what happend to all those people on that fateful day or become the next chapter in an all too real urban legend?
As written and directed by Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton, the film can be quite spooky and unsettling at times, but never really grabs you like it should. Clunky dialog and bland characters keep you from getting drawn in, as does not really understanding enough about what’s going on to make you afraid. At least in The Blair Witch Project, a film this resembles to a degree, you knew there was a possibility that there was an evil entity that might be out there causing the trouble. It gave you something to focus on and be afraid of. Here there’s nothing to focus on as we never really know what’s going on, or get so much as a clue as to what happened 70 years earlier. It appears to be something supernatural, but we are never really certain. Sure, there is some nice atmosphere here and the film can be creepy, but it’s a little too vague for it’s own good. Sometimes not being spoon-fed everything is good and leaving some things to the imagination is effective, too, but here it’s a case of giving us a little too little. We at least needed some clues to get our imaginations fired up even if the answers were ultimately going to be left a mystery or up to us to decide. I really liked the effort to do something different and hopefully these filmmakers keep trying. Their work shows potential and imagination, but they need to give their audience something a bit more solid to work with and liven up their characters to really deliver.
I still recommend horror fans check this one out. It’s definitely worth a look, but be prepared to know pretty much the same when the credits roll as you did going in. The cast of unknowns include Cassidy Freeman, Anessa Ramsey and Clark Freeman.
2 and 1/2 gramophones… at least that sounds like what is playing that creepy music…