Hello to all those faithfully reading and hopefully enjoying this effort to make even the worst horror movie more watcha... aw, screw that - I'm not that good. If a movie makes you cringe because yet another batch of unlikable teens that are pushing 30 are inching toward their deaths, having a party no one does anywhere ever, a paranormal movie is boring you to tears with unending pans of empty rooms, or thanks to CGI technology when people finally bite it, their blood squirts everywhere except on the victim, the ground, the people next to them... you're in good company and this is the right place for you.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Movies So Bad They Make You Say "What In The Blazes Did I Just Watch?"

YellowBrickRoad (2010)

This movie, already suspect because usually if they have to try to make the title clever (like putting the title all into one word or adding exclamation points or something) that means they don't have a whole lot to offer. And this one certainly didn't.

It started out promising enough, instead of the typical college students, we have real adults doing research for a book on an incident that took place in Friar, NH (fictional place, fictional story) 
in 1940. The story is that 572 people just walked away from homes, possessions, everything and hiked up a wilderness trail, never to return - that is for one lone survivor investigators found on the trail, the rest either frozen to death, torn apart or just plain missing. All he can do is keep repeating 'Can't you hear that?' The town repopulates, they close the wilderness area, and people try to forget. That doesn't sound too bad. But unfortunately it starts to turn in that direction.

A band of seven join together because, after years of trying to get access to the town records and finally succeeding, Teddy Barnes, together with his wife Melissa and a group of researchers and one ranger decide to follow the mystery to see where in the world Waldo is... I mean the rest of Friar. At first, the GPS tells them the trail begins at the Friar movie theater. Disheartened they're prepared to go back - until a local says she knows where the END of the trail is, so they can kind of go backwards. So they set out, and for two days all seems normal. They're all experienced, so they are keeping careful track of where they are headed.

One of them finds a hat in perfect condition, although it's from the 30's era. He insists on wearing it to the discomfort for some reason of the group. The third day the music begins. Now we're not going to hear any Wizard Of Oz songs here despite the title, the music played is mostly 30's big band music, softly, but it's there. They start to get excited, thinking that they're on the right track. And of course things start to go wrong. Their instruments go nuts (the GPS keeps telling them they're in different countries), the compass doesn't work and neither does a navigating instrument, which keeps giving different readings each time it's used, even when scouting the exact same spot. And the music is getting louder and louder.

Their main navigator whose been carefully writing down the coordinates tells the group that his notations are all garbage. When going straight ahead, they're correct, but if he looks behind, according to his calculations if they've walked say 2 miles, looking back it adds up to 10 miles, 5 miles to 1 mile, and so on. It also changes from side to side. So basically they're lost - unless they keep going north, the supposed direction of the original trail. And the music is getting louder. And more obnoxious. One night it blares in their campsite, along with the sound of a needle scratching across a record, which stops, repeats even louder, stops, etc. They're finally starting to get worried.

Death By Stereo
Then the one who found the hat has it taken by one of the group, and he brutally kills her for it. We're talking decent gore here, although implausible - he rips apart her face with his hands and somehow tears her leg completely off. Interesting, but how? They catch him and tie him up, realizing it's the place that's making them all a little buggy - a professor who's been monitoring their mental statuses since they started realizes that they're losing memories, becoming impatient and downright angry and irrational. If I had to listen to big band music every day all day - well it might not be so bad, but when the music becomes so loud it blocks out everything - plus the needle scratches and loud static, then you have death by stereo (not to be confused with the punk rock group). They eventually find Erin, the one killed, up on a stake made up like the Scarecrow (doesn't come to life, they were careful with copyright infringement I guess).

After much argument (and a dead spot in the film where they just kind of wander, keeping cotton in their ears but by now the music and static is so loud the earth rocks), the remaining team decides to split up. Even with doing that, Teddy decides to go off on his own (he had gotten a glimpse of a 'path' while on a hillside). The rest eventually either commit suicide or kill each other.

Just when Teddy is collapsing from exhaustion, thirst and hunger, he reaches out - and his hand hits a building. He is there. Trouble is, 'there' is the movie theater in Friar, where this all started. I hate that in a movie. Once inside, he's confronted by the owner of the theater who says he's watched everything that's happened to their group - including the death of Teddy's wife. He demands that Teddy go watch the 'film' of their journey (kind of a rip off of In The Mouth Of Madness but oh well) and it begins - scratchy, black and white. As the film flickers you see on all sides of Teddy faint figures of the Friar residents who never were found. And he won't be either.