[From IMDB:] 1940: the entire population of Friar, New Hampshire walked up a winding mountain trail, leaving everything behind. 2008: the first official expedition into the wilderness attempts to solve the mystery of the lost citizens of Friar.
Yellowbrickroad is not your typical horror movie. Rather than being about a literal “monster” (whether human or not) chasing people around, this movie is, when pared right down to the core, about music, isolation (both figurative and literal), and the extremes of the human psyche. If that sounds weird to you, well, now you know exactly why – despite some weaknesses – I think that Yellowbrickroad is a great example of an innovative take on the horror genre.
While the movie is a bit slow at the start, once things start to pick up there’s a nice and gradual build up of suspense, and an unease that the cast do a fantastic job of portraying first in small, almost imperceptible ways, and then in an increasingly manic exploration of their individually distinct emotional responses to events that they can’t explain, or process. In contrast to the way these things usually go, what starts off as a rather middling performance across the board soon becomes an intensely engaging one – which is just as well, given that their performances drive the movie.
Of course, the other character in Yellowbrickroad that must be acknowledged is the music. Although it didn’t get under my skin as much this time as it did when I originally watched the movie a couple of years ago (perhaps because I didn’t have the volume up as loud this time?), the music in Yellowbrickroad does the most work in setting its surreal tone. The only thing I could have possibly asked for is that they took it even further, and really assaulted the viewer with its dissonance; but, at the same time, I recognise that you kind of need your audience to hang around until the end of the movie if you want it to be successful. So, I can forgive them on this.
While I think some scenes could have been shaved down a bit, and I’m not sure how I feel about the ending (which is, at the very least, a step up from not liking it), overall I think that Yellowbrickroad really has something to offer. And, like any earworm, it’ll probably stick in your brain for a while after watching it.