I must be missing something here, because everybody who has written a review about this movie so far seems to think it was pretty damned good.
I remember seeing the trailer and reading various things about the plot of Yellowbrickroad last year, and being extremely geeked to get a chance, any chance to see it. The idea of an entire town disappearing (ala the colony at Roanoke, NC) and years alter a group of curious filmmakers willing to take the same trip down the Yellow Brick Road to find out what happened, was fantastic.
The movie, as it turns out, was not.
Many reviewers have called this movie "a slow burn" which I don't agree with, mainly because there is no burn. It's slow, yes. No burn though. It felt uneven and directionless, like they had no idea where to go with this awesome premise and set up. From the advance buzz I read about YBR, I was expecting a tense, atmospheric creeper, and to be totally honest, aside from one or two scenes, there wasn't much creepy in this movie at all.
The acting was decent, though some of the characters were a bit annoying at times, but if felt as if I was watching a bunch of actors pretending to go insane rather than characters losing their grips on reality. Some of it was even goofy.
The part in which a girl just walks of a cliff made me giggle; they must have sped up the film during her fall, because it was so fast that I couldn't help but laugh and say "what?!?" Then again the fact that the characters just kinda stood around and watch a guy bash a chicks leg off with a rock -and did nothing- was nearly laughable as well. Like how long does it take to bash through someone's leg with a rock? A while, right? And no one ran over to stop him until he had removed the leg?
There's also a rather jarring sequence about midway through the movie that grated on my nerves. Music flared on and off while they cast stumbled around like the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise during a Klingon attack, and I'm talking 70's William Shatner-style here... it was kinda funny. It felt like the scene went on and on too, so much that it elicited a cheer when it finally ended.
I'll give credit for a few things, such as the sound mix/editing. The filmmakers made some bold moves involving sound in this one, to the point where it almost became it's own character in a way. Aside from the majorly annoying "on/off scene", the sound was used to great effect. There's also a scene where a guy is hiding in a little cave... that was pretty good too. There are some good things at work here, mainly sound, location and premise, they're just never really used to any good effect, that's the real problem. The director and writer never really make us feel dread or any sort of impending doom for the characters as they make their way further and further down the road, towards whatever waits at its end.
I really just don't get it. The movie was slow, uneventful, and tediously frustrating. Walk, talk, sleep, act odd, repeat. And there was nothing even close to a payoff at the end. Oh yeah, we didn't mention the ending, did we? I wont spoil anything by going into any sort of detail, but I will say that horror filmmakers need to stop being afraid to film endings for their films. Enough with the twists and/or complete ambiguity, let's have at least a little bit of resolution or at the very least, some explanation somewhere in there.
Even if there's no "payoff" to be had at the end, how about make the rest of the movie gripping and absorbing? I kept waiting for to tense up, and feel some doom creep into my bones, but that moment never came. 1940's music and melodramatic over-acing are bad enough, but when they're the centerpiece of a movie and are counted on to raise the tension /atmosphere levels with absolutely nothing else to help them, it's a tough sell.
D+ It's not an awful movie, it just really drops the ball in the important areas, which makes it awful enough to us. Like I said earlier, it seems as if most horror sites seem tho think this movie an uber-effective triumph of independent horror cinema. Aside from the ones that usually seem to be shills for certain movies/filmmakers, maybe they saw a completely different cut than we did? We really wanted to love this movie, but if we said it was loveable, we'd be lying.
*And before some jerk-off leaves us a clever comment like "You just don't appreciate the slow burn" or "You need everything spoon fed to you!", I loved the TV show Rubicon. If there's anything that spoon feeds less or that burns slower than that, I have yet to see it. It got cancelled because nothing really ever happened on that show, and I thought it was brilliant. So no, we in no way prefer style over substance, and in fact we will take substance every time. This movie just fell short.