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Film / Yellow Brick Road

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YellowBrickRoad is a 2010 horror film by Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton that starring Cassidy Freeman, Anessa Ramsey and Laura Heisler.

In 1940 the entire population of Friar, New Hampshire spontaneously walked into the forest surrounding the town. Rescuers recovered a single deranged survivor but the rest of the townsfolk either disappeared entirely or else were found dead of exposure or various acts of violence. 70 years later, a husband and wife explorer team have been seeking access to the official records of the incident to no avail. When the records are unexpectedly released, they quickly organize a team of scientists and set off in search of the secret behind an entire town's self-destruction.


This film provides examples of:

  • A Fête Worse Than Death: What made the disappearance of the townsfolk particularly bizarre was that when they left, they were all dressed formally and festively, as if on their way to a party. Some even brought gramophones and records with them.
  • Alien Geometries: The distance the party travels within the forest seems to add up and make perfect sense while the group is walking. When added up later the distances do not make sense at all.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Daryl rips Erin's leg off with his bare hands over an argument about his hat.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Invoked deliberately with the regular videotaped interviews to check the crew for Sanity Slippage. They probably weren't expecting it to actually work though...
  • Arc Words: "Bad berries."
    • "Enjoy your picture show."
    • "This is our home."
  • Ax-Crazy : Daryl
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  • Be Careful What You Wish For: As Liv tells it, part of the allure of the trail is the temptation to "get away" from all the pain and disappointment of mundane life. The trail certainly delivers on that.
  • Brown Note: Shortly after Daryl's capture the omnipresent music seems to actively attack the campers, distorting into continual white noise that nearly incapacitates them.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The records clerk.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The berries.
  • Don't Go in the Woods: Something in the woods is luring people into it to commit mass suicide/homicide.
  • Driven to Suicide: The apparent fate of the original walkers and seemingly anyone else who travels the road who are not murdered by their companions first.
  • Gainax Ending: The trail ends at an inexplicable movie theatre manned by the clerk from the beginning of the film who treats the lone survivor to a film of his wife's dismembered corpse that greets him with the words "this is our home" while spectral moviegoers laugh all around him. Roll credits.
  • Genius Loci: The forest itself.
  • Government Conspiracy: The reason no one has heard about an entire American town spontaneously committing mass suicide is because it was covered up. As the film opens, the protagonists have already spent a great deal of time pursuing Freedom of Information requests for access to the official records. And it is the entity responsible for the event who sees to it that the request is granted.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: Cy finally decides Liv will have to kill him as he is losing the battle against his impulse to kill her.
  • Incessant Music Madness: Three days into their expedition, the crew begins to hear old-timey dance hall music. It comes from everywhere, and nowhere.
  • Lovecraft Country: A creepy New England town that was once all-but destroyed by an unseen, seemingly all-powerful and mind-altering presence in the forests surrounding it.
  • Previews Pulse: Rare in-universe example. At one point the old-timey music changes into a monstrously loud, deafening, shake-you-to-your-knees, make-your-ears-bleed sound. It leaves no room in their heads for anything other than the desire to escape that hellish noise. And it is hellish: a thrumming, discordant, spiking roar that on a decent sound system or coming through good headphones will make you wince and feel sick with vertigo. Nothing can stand against this aural assault, which seems malevolent and calculating. Imagine the BWAAAAAM noise from the film Inception, jacked-up on steroids and angel dust, just waiting for you to almost get your bearings before jumping you from behind. It’s like that.
  • Shout-Out:
    • There's numerous ones to The Wizard of Oz obviously, from the name of the mysterious trail to the repeated references to "clicking your heels" and going home. The mysterious usher at the end of the film is an obvious reference to the wizard himself, and it's implied this strange entity is responsible for the events of the film.
    • When Walter explains why he's scared of continuing the hike, he says "I think we need a bigger boat".
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Friar, New Hampshire. It's implied most of the town is aware of the dangers of the trail, if not its exact nature.
  • Wild Wilderness: The forest.
  • A Wizard Did It: Jokingly suggested almost word for word by the team as a possible explanation for the music. Whether or not The Reveal at the end confirms it depends on your interpretation.
  • Whole Plot Reference: To The Wizard of Oz. The film plays out like a twisted and nihilistic re-imagining of Dorothy's journey to the Emerald City.