The Gist: In 1940 the entire population of Friar New Hampshire abandons the town following a trail into the woods for no reason. A massive search is held and the residents are found frozen, butchered or not found at all. The incident is covered-up and the town slowly repopulates but the woods and trail remain untravelled. Nearly 70 years later, a group of adventurers head out looking to write a book about the incident and journey down the road to find answers.
The Wanderers: Michael Laurino (Teddy Barnes), Anessa Ramsey (Melissa Barnes), Laura Heisler (Liv McCann), Cassidy Freeman (Erin Luger), Clark Freeman (Daryl Luger), Alex Draper (Walter Myrick), Tara Giordano (Jill), Sam Elmore (Cy Banbridge)
Spoilers, Spoilers, Spoilers
My Take: Well, this is one of those movies where I reflect and wonder what I watched and why. The group is made up of an adventuring couple, the Barnes’, the couple’s best buddy Walter, Jill the intern, Liv the townie and brother and sister map makers, the Lugers’ (I think they’re called cartographers not map makers) and survivalist Cy. As they head down the trail in an attempt to solve the mystery of the YellowBrickRoad things get weird, eventually. Music starts reverberating through the forest, some catchy 1940’s tunes, and at first it’s fun and they enjoy it but after a while it gets old, especially when the volume gets extremely loud and at times it sounds like a needle scratching across a record.
As they journey further down the trail and further away from civilization the group starts to slowly mentally deteriorate and become loopy. It appears that the music and the environment mess with Daryl’s sanity as he chases down his sister Erin and beats her, then uses a rock to help rip her leg off. That was unexpected and what I was hoping would be the segue into the movie getting going and moving forward but it didn’t, not really. As they continue, the music becomes deafening and appears to be so loud that the group can barely walk. Daryl eventually runs off into the woods and the rest of the group divides as Teddy wants to continue and the others just want to go back. At this point in the road, there is a dam like structure in the middle of the trail and a macabre scarecrow has been erected using the body of Erin. Again, something that I thought was going to make the movie interesting and maybe even scary. Nope.
Teddy leaves, Jill jumps off a cliff, Cy and Liv eat nightshade berries and get high before she kills him at his request, Walt slits his wrists and Melissa is butchered by Daryl who is then killed by Liv. Melissa’s body is dragged away by a white gloved hand and Liv just lies down and eats bad berries. And Teddy? He continues on and eventually finds his way back to town where he is ordered to watch a movie in the theatre they were at when the flick started. The image that appears is of Melissa’s severed head surrounded by a black and white wasteland. Huh?
Yah or Nah: Huh really sums this one up. What the hell was that, what the hell was it all about? I think this could have been interesting as it had a touch of the Croatoan Mystery but the flick was very slow to start and the music coming from the trees just became annoying. There was no action or real explanation or exploration about what was happening. And the end? What the hell man?! This is a Nah.