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.
  • jack

    Calm your hormones, Rice. You bash as if you sound like a professional filmmaker. Couldn’t you be any optimistic about Filipino films? Couldn’t you AT LEAST appreciate the progress of Filipino film industry? Haha! It may not be a “Hollywood” type of film, but the overall output of it was amazing compared to previous horror films. :) Hope you understand :)

  • Arvin

    jack is right… just appreciate the movie rice… :)

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

    The Road is undoubtedly one of the best films created in the country. The writer/director appreciated that his audience are not dumb. This movie was artistically done! Kudos to Direk Yam Laranas! I made my own review here:
    http://www.movieadventures.info/the-road.html

    Hope you’ll have a chance to read it. :)

  • Yan

    Rice – Fail! (I smell some crabs :D)

  • Blue

    Maybe, some people thought it was just a plain horror flick coz of the thing they saw (dark, bloody apparitions, name it..), but what they didn’t saw is that this movie has a lot of things to offer. The purpose isn’t about scaring your ass under the table, but for you to think and wander what was happening and why is it there. The guessing game makes this film good and outstanding.

  • i am pinoy

    it’s not a typical pilipino movie who copycat those asian films like all the member in the family will die, it’s not fenshui.. i can smell crabs (RICE)

  • Seandima

    duhfaq w/ u RICE! better if you call urself CRAB! maybe he/she is a fan of SARAH, ANGEL or KIM, they are horrible fans with brain of crab! SCARY! anyway this is a nicely done film, scenic masterpiece and good actors. not your ordinary horror movie, looking forward for the official DVD release after the showing in US.

  • Squirtcake

    Yup, the real name of Rice is Crab. LOL

  • Mars

    I like the but now I’m scared to drive by myself at night…

  • RottenPotato

    Actually it is your typical stupid scary movie.. So the movie was called the road and there were 3 kids driving around and all 3 kids got hauted and two of them died and for what?????? Is it for the sisters revenge agaist the killer??? I dont get it?? They led the kids to their death! All they wanted was to go home.. Stupid stupid movie.. waisted my money on this garbage!!

    • Dude

      looks like your parents wasted money on your education as well ….

    • kiko

      I just watched the film, sorry to feel that way but ghosts in reality doesnt really choose the people they are going to appear to. Yes, the ghosts were revengeful, sad to say the 3 kids where victimized by their restless souls, if you can remember, one of survivor kid in the end was possessed by one of the ghosts. And the movie could be typical if your going to think that it was like the other movies where villain kills people but the great thing about this film was that, there was a story behind the villain which is not really typical and at the same time realistic, and there was a twist in the end. There could be minor inconsistencies though that made me asks why on some parts but all in all, a good film.