The Road (2012) Movie Review

26 Comments

The thing that I loved the most about “The Echo” director Yam Laranas’ latest supernatural chiller “The Road” is that it’s quiet. Very quiet. Oh-so quiet, even. When the characters have nothing to say, they keep their mouths shut. No idiotic one-liners, no pointless pop culture references — just silence, plain and simple. And while that may sound more than a little silly to some, it’s actually quite refreshing. Sometimes it’s these eerie silences and the extended dialogue-free moments that add some weight to the atmosphere, particularly when the filmmakers are trying their best to generate a heaping helping of nail-chewing suspense. Not that Laranas and company have any problems causing the hairs on the back of your neck to stand straight up, mind you.

The story unfolds over three interlocking chapters, each of which draw you deeper into Laranas’ impossibly unnerving universe. After opening with what appears to be a suicide on stretch of land in the middle of nowhere, the film immediately jumps to a seemingly unrelated yarn involving three naive teenagers and their misguided adventure down a dark, dreary, an exceptionally haunted roadway. What begins as an innocent driving lesson soon spirals into an increasingly violent series of ghostly encounters. The trio are quickly overcome by the malevolent forces that call the road home, forcing the local police to launch an investigation spearheaded by the department’s highly decorated golden boy. Before too long, blood-soaked secrets are brought to light.

If you can, go into “The Road” knowing as little about the story as possible. I feel I may have revealed too much as it is. The mystery surrounding this foreboding bi-way is immensely engrossing, especially if you’re completely unaware of its destination. Laranas plays his hand in much the same way Takashi Shimizu did with “Ju-on”: each separate storyline is a piece of a much larger puzzle, one that builds to a heart-stopping, nerve-jangling climax. However, instead of saving the best stuff for the final act, Laranas and crew keep the scares flowing freely throughout. In fact, one of the picture’s scariest moments — a short bit involving a shadowy figure running towards our heroes at full speed — arrives fairly early in the film. It’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it kind of scene, and the entire movie is littered with them. The end result is nothing short of terrifying.

Naturally, the movie’s impact would have been lessened considerably had the filmmakers not filled their spooky little endeavor with an abundance of able-bodied actors. Thankfully, the entire cast is spot-on, and there’s not a single rotten egg in the entire bunch. The majority of the performers are fairly young, and, from what I can gather, have a very strong and extremely loyal fan base in their native country. The cast’s unwavering dedication to the picture’s numerous blood-soaked set pieces is certainly commendable, and should earn them even more adoring fans in the process. Instead of waiting impatiently for the kids to bite the proverbial dust, you want them to live, to escape the clutches of this sinister stretch of pavement. That, my friends, is a rarity in this day and age, especially in movies where teenagers are your central characters.

“The Road” is a fantastic horror film, a well-written, sharply directed ghost story that boldly assumes that its audience has a brain and knows how to use it. The film is dead serious in its presentation, which is precisely why it works so well. Yam Laranas knows how to get under the skin of even the most jaded of viewers, and he does so on a fairly consistent basis. The icing on the proverbial cake is the film’s cast, a savvy group of talented youngsters who effortlessly hit their marks, even during the picture’s more demanding scenarios. I honestly can’t recommend it enough, especially if you’re a discerning fan who demands a bit of substance from the genre you love. If you have the chance to see “The Road”, do not let the opportunity pass you by.

Yam Laranas (director) / Yam Laranas (screenplay)
CAST: Carmina Villaroel
Rhian Ramos
TJ Trinidad
Marvin Agustin
Barbie Forteza
Lexi Fernandez
Derick Monasterio
Alden Richards
Louise de los Reyes
Renz Valerio

Author: Todd Rigney

Todd was raised on a steady diet of Hollywood blockbusters, late-night Cinemax programming, and USA’s “Up All Night,” which may explain why his taste in movies is more than a little questionable. When he isn’t providing news and reviews for Beyond Hollywood, he can be found lounging lazily on his couch, perched in front of his television, or dwelling in places where direct sunlight can be easily avoided. He's happily married, in his 30's, and totally badass. If you'd like to reach Todd, you can follow him on Twitter or send him email/scoops to todd (at) beyondhollywood.com.
  • http://twitter.com/loisse21 Lois Jamili

    great horror movie which really scared the heck out of me… real unexpected twist at the end too..

  • Chadcrusoe2000

    “…ghost story that boldly assumes that its audience has a brain and knows how to use it.” Yep, couldn’t agree more. 2 thumbs up.

  • Talongatkalabasa

    Yup, but I wouldn’t call it a horror movie (it wasn’t that scary, especially in the latter portions). It wasn’t the scares that kept my ass in my seat it was the murder mystery that was being solved in the film.

  • Anna

    Great movie! I lost my voice after watching this hours ago. The Road has a lot of twists and plots and both my friend and I took turns guessing the next scenes and the identity killer. I’m amazed of how Yam Laranas completely throws you off by letting you think different characters as the possible killer.

  • J.

    This is one of the great Pinoy films I’ve ever seen. It’s an intelligent movie; freakingly dark but beautifully crafted. Kudos to Yam Laranas and the casts.

  • rice

    I am sorry but did you actually watch the movie? the only redeeming factor is the opening of the movie. Not scary, nor the twist shocking. The story beats made no sense whatsover. The movie did nothing new or innovative at all. This write up just seems like a paid advertisement.

    • luna

      God bless dude! :D

  • android

    maybe you were just reading the subtitles the whole time and didnt see the actual movie thats why you thought it was so great? hahaha

  • Visualize

    i can’t believe someone like Rice would actually put down an intelligent movie just for the love of sarah geronimo.

  • rice

    Sarah Geronimo? I didnt even watch that movie because its just your regular cookie cutter date movie. Nothing special. The Road on the other hand? Bad acting? lame car chase scenes? Twist seen from miles away?. Is it supposed to be “Hollywood” level with the over use of lens flare? As a horror movie? fail.As a suspense movie? fail. As a “art” movie? fail. As a date movie? fail. The only thing I enjoyed was the intro and the music. THATS IT. The scariest part of the movie was the kid cleaning up his father’s oatmeal puke. haha

    • Dudely

      “As a “art” movie?” – nice grammar dude. wth

  • rice

    How is the movie intelligent? The killer lives in the house for YEARS and could apparently see ghosts as a kid, but the ghosts only decide to kill him for what? He is award winning detective, yet he freaks just because a girl points him out and he goes apeshit on the police? Why even call it “the road” when most of it happens in the damn haunted house. Maybe the closet? what a joke all these fanboys go out and defend the movie. The studio that published it retweeting “Hollywood” reviews. Go lets see if this movie will win ANY award

    • http://twitter.com/Jairene01 Jairene Cruz

      The point is that the killer himself could not reconcile the fact that he is the killer. It is a good movie because we are not trying to investigate “who did it” but “why he did it”. He couldn’t see ghosts as a kid, he developed a mental problem what with all the pressure of having demented parents and then seeing them dead.

      Really, the movie is an intelligent one. If you can’t see that, then I see where the problem lies.

      • kiko

        Rice see things literally, thats why………probably he/she needs to practice her/his brain once in a while……the movie used symbolisms here that you need to think metaphorically or deeper in order to appreciate.