Reviews: Yellow Brick Road
Subtle and Insidious
Whether or not you enjoy this movie depends on what, exactly, you like most about the horror genre. If you want blood-pounding suspense, murderous monsters, and a general high-adrenaline experience, this probably isn't your film. There are a few gorey attack scenes, but that's really not what the movie is about. Ditto if you like rational, explicable horror, some tangible cause to a monstrous effect. You want tidy answers? Not gonna get 'em here. But if you like creeping dread, the slow descent into madness, surreal disquiet, and the tantalizing sting of an unsolvable mystery... there really is no movie I can recommend more. Yellow Brick Road is all about atmosphere, drawing the viewer into an unsettling yet brightly-lit tale of human fallibility and inevitable insanity. The protagonists are all fairly solid people who make one fatal mistake— continuing on the path. They are given no reason to be genuinely fearful until they've walked for miles. By the time they realize something is very, very wrong, it's too late to go back. Perhaps it was too late the moment they set foot on the trailhead. If the film has a main flaw, it's the final scene. Without spoiling it, I can say that it's disappointing from a technical standpoint. But this is a fairly small complaint inasmuch as the film doesn't hinge on the ending. The journey down the Yellow Brick Road is one worth taking— preferably during the day, with friends.
Loved the psychological aspects of this movie. What it brought home to me was the idea that hell, true torment, is repetition, the gradual loss of hope, a way out. The characters were in the trail for maybe a week and they all fell apart. The idea of pride, of asking questions with no right answers or answers anyone would want comes to mind. The male lead, Teddy, wants to investigate the first disappearance and investigates things that are best left alone. As far as the ending goes, it was good for me, as it brought up the idea that all quests, even the bad ones, inevitably lead back to the beginning of the journey. The ending had the kind of idea of all Teddy's sins and stupidity being reflected back at him. Also liked some of the more...just random elements of this movie. One character is a little behind the others, and then she just goes 90 degrees right and walks straight off a cliff. No sound, no scream, nothing. And the other characters don't even notice. The scarecrow elements referencing the Wizard of Oz were also chilling. All in all, 8 out of 10.
A Little Bit Scarring, Actually.
Do not watch this movie. It is one of the most despair inducing, gut wrenching, hug-requiring things I have ever seen. That said, I think it's a masterpiece. Also, this movie will make you hate and fear swing music. Yellowbrickroad realizes something that few other movies do: fear is ambiguous. The trail openly demonstrates exactly one supernatural trait, which on its own is hardly creepy at all. Yet this movie uses a combination of character study and... stuff that I will leave unspoiled. Five stars, two thumbs up, for the love of god don't watch it.