The Road (Yam Laranas, 2011)
I am a heap-big fan of Filipino director Yam Laranas’ Sigaw (which he came over to America to remake in 2008 as The Echo, and the American version, while nowhere near as good as the original, actually ain’t half bad). The Road is the only other movie of his I’ve had a chance to catch, and I have to say that given Sigaw it was something of a disappointment. Though I rush to add that were this directed by some no-name making his first feature, I’d probably be telling you “hey, this is derivative, but it’s stylish and pretty cool,” so take that with as much salt as necessary.
Plot: An abandoned marginal road where bad things seem to happen is examined during three separate incidents: in 2008, 1998, and 1988. The wraparound story concerns Luis (Patient X‘s TJ Trinidad), a newly-decorated cop at loggerheads with his sergeant because of his unconventional tactics. As Luis and the police assisting him uncover the successively older crimes, Luis becomes more and more obsessed with the case…
It’s not bad stuff, and I will admit that I totally did not see the Big Reveal(TM) coming at all. In fact, the only real problem with The Road is that there’s nothing at all new here; Laranas has just taken the various pieces of standard Asian horror films and glued them together, albeit very stylishly. (Compare to Sigaw‘s wonderful domestic-disturbance ghosts or Patient X using the relatively rare aswang [rare, at least, as a horror movie monster] as his antagonist.) Laranas delivers up another slice of stylish, well-filmed, well-acted horror here, but it isn’t anything you haven’t seen before. ** ½
Official US trailer.