Monday, 22 August 2011

YellowBrickRoad, dir/wr. Jesse Holland, Andy Mitton, st. Cassidy Freeman, Anessa Ramsey, Laura Heisler

There's something undeniably spooky about whole colonies just vanishing. As a fictional conceit it's weird enough, but history tells us its actually happened, for example in the case of the Roanoke Colony or the Mayans. So when we're told at the outset in a typed mockroduction that in 1940, the entire population of Friar, New Hampshire walked up a mountain trail leaving everything behind, and were later... partially found, we have a pretty good idea what we're getting ourselves in for; there is no mystery here, strap in and enjoy the predictable outcome of the group of redshirts who are attempting to uncover the truth. The big surprise is just how Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton create their supernatural environment. The filming location, a remote region of Pittsburg, makes for a desolate setting, yet curiously abundant with life; the action is played out under vast woodland canopies and rolling grassland, all adding a Happening-esque haunt, the idea of nature looking back at us. And then it starts to get weird - I won't spoil it by saying how - but it's an audaciously batshit sound-design tactic that'll really get under your skin. Predictably, the very end is something of a letdown, once again falling into the classic pitfall of being unable to match the chilling buildup with a satisfying denouement, but actually, it's ok; it's the thought that counts.