Saturday, January 18, 2014
DVD Review: TOAD ROAD
Written & Directed by Jason Banker
Distributed by Artsploitation Films
This might be the hardest review I have ever had to write. A review is easy to write if I love the movie, I can spend as much time as I want gushing over how good it was. A review is easy to write if I hate a movie, I can say why I hate it, keep it short and move on. The hardest kinds of reviews to write are about movies like this one. I don't know if I liked it or hated it. Ok, I definitely didn't hate it, but then I think about some parts an I loved it. Very strange to say the least, and very strange is a great way to describe TOAD ROAD. Here is a little bit about the film from the film's official press release from Artsploitation Films:
A different kind of American independent horror film, the hypnotic Toad Road, presented by Elijah Wood and his SpectreVision production company, unfolds like a hallucinatory cross between the sexual candor of Larry Clark and Harmony Korine, and the backwoods creep-out of The Blair Witch Project.
Young James kills time with his small town druggie friends, engaging in excessive chemical intake, until he meets sweet new arrival Sara. But just as James wants to abandon the narcotics life, Sara wants him to take her further into mind-altering experimentation...and she also wants him to introduce her to the sinister local legend of Toad Road, a spot deep in the forest that is apparently home to the Seven Gates of Hell.
Writer-director Jason Banker's film is a unique fusion of documentary-like realism, and otherworldly, haunting rural terror. Unlike any other film you'll see this year, Toad Road is a mesmerizing trip.
It's interesting that the press release mentioned Larry Clark, because the first thing that I thought of after watching this film was that it felt like an updated, newer version of Clark's 1995 film, KIDS. The plot was lacking and it basically just showed the life of young kids on a daily basis.
The film is not really a horror movie at all. While it is marketed as such, it is much more of just a weird drama, although it does have some horror elements to it. Mainly the film is a group of kids getting drunk and high and doing all sorts of foolish things. A lot of the film resembles the JACKSASS TV show, with people punching each other for fun, and doing all sorts of pranks and such.
The last part of the film does get a little more into the horror aspect, and I remember loving the ending. It has a nice twist and centers around the characters of James and Sarah go off to find the legendary "Toad Road", a section of the woods near them that people say can alter time. Kinda confusing and pretty deep for a movie like this, this plot line felt a little out of place compared to the rest of the film, but this last part of the film also provided them most enjoyable part of the film in my opinion.
One thing this movie had going for it was the acting. In fact, I don't even think these kids were acting, and I would not be surprised if I heard they were actually doing the drugs as shown in the film. If these kids were acting, then they all deserve praise for such a fine job. This film looked very realistic in all aspects.
If you liked KIDS, you should love this modern version. It is different and weird, so anyone looking for a true horror film could be disappointed. I recommend you check this one out though and make up your own mind. I have a feeling everyone will get something different out of this film. If you have seen TOAD ROAD, leave a comment below and let me know what you thought of the film.
TOAD ROAD is available now on DVD and contains the following Special Features:
* Audio Commentary with Jason Banker, James Davidson, Jamie Siebold, Scott Rader, & Jorge Torres-Torres,
* Deleted Scenes
* Behind the Scenes Featurette
* James Davidson & Sara Anne Jones Audition Video
* DUI Story
* Shotgun A Beer Clip
* 8-page Collectible Booklet
* Reversible Cover
CLICK HERE to watch the trailer
CLICK HERE to purchase the DVD