June 25, 2012

The Road (2012)

(aka You no Drive There!)
Release Date: Available now at Amazon Instant Video.
Country: The Philippines.
Written by: Aloy Adlawan and Yam Laranas.
Directed by: Yam Laranas.
Starring: Carmina Villaroel, Rhian Ramos and TJ Trinidad.

From the first time this we saw the trailer for The Road, it definitely had our attention. It truly looked creepy and atmospheric, and we had high hopes, but it begged the question: "can a movie directed by a guy named Yam be any good?"

Sure, why not.

Broken into different sections (or stories), The Road is a movie that moves backwards to establish its plot and answer the questions that it poses. The first story, which is also basically the wrap-around for all of the others, takes place in 2008; Two young cousins sneak out of their house late one night with a boy, to go joyriding. None of them have a driver's license of course, so when they see the Cops on the road ahead of them, they decide to take a detour down a dark and lonely road (hence the title), which leads them to pretty much get jumped by a gang of ghosts. It doesn't end well for all involved.

You can't run from ghosts! LOL
The second story takes us back 10 years to 1998, and shows us two young sisters traveling down the same road (hence the title), making plans for College and being sisterly. When their car overheats,they turn to a creepy boy for help, and he lures them back to his house to get them some water... and yes, it's the same house from the first story, so you know they are not going to get their water. It doesn't end well for all involved.

"You come with me I make kidnap."
The third story takes us even further back in time to 1988, where a lonely little boy is shoved in closets and told never to go outside by his domineering, evil Mother. I don't want to give too much more away here, since there are some twists that tie everything together, but suffice it to say that this kid does not grow up well adjusted at all. They also live in a house along the road (hence the title.)

They look so happy together.
The Road was a good effort, although it did feel a bit uneven to us. It was well made, the actors all did a fantastic job, and for the most part it maintained a creepy vibe throughout. Yam Laranas' heart was definitely in the right place with this one, even if he didn't give us a perfect film. We loved how the movie's plot worked backwards; in that respect, it reminded us a bit of Christopher Nolan's Memento (though only on the surface.)

The first story was good, but it didn't really pack many scares. Sure, there were plenty of creepy-looking spirits running around, but it felt a bit... reserved, to us. Maybe we were just expecting the "ghosts" of the titular road to be a bit more vengeful and dangerous.

Run, rabbit, run.
The second story of the three was the one we liked the most, as it had everything; creepy atmosphere, disturbing visuals, tension, and even a bit of emotional pull thrown in for good measure. It felt almost Torture Porn-ish in a few places, although this movie was hardly Torture Porn at all. It was definitely the most engaging segment for us.

The third and last section of the movie, 1988, was solid enough, but by the time it rolled around it was obvious what the "twist" was and it took away a bit of the film's overall impact. If anything, the this story was a bit sad, as it made us sympathize with the killer... a bit too much for our liking.

The wrap-around story is what threw us off a bit. It wasn't "bad," but it distracted us. The mystery (or "twist" if you will) behind the whole movie became clear by the time we got to the second segment, and the "possession" bit was unclear to us at first, and the way it all wrapped up was a bit too... easy. The movie was still effective and enjoyable, but it just could have been more so had the wrap been a bit smoother and more eventful. Less subtle, even.

Shine a light on it all you want to sir, it is what it is.
As for the ending, and they way it all came together, it was effective enough, but we do have one big gripe; with a lot of Asian Horror films (and Asian films in general), they seem to head off into a philosophical or metaphorical place (which is great), but we aren't fans of catharsis at the end of our Horror flicks. I don't want to see the de-vilification of the "bad guy," because it lessens some of the nastiness that they perpetrated beforehand. I mean, someone kills a bunch of innocent kids and then finds his spiritual release? Blah.

You died for catharsis. Thank you for your sacrifice.
Aside from a bunch of grisly corpses and spirits, some gunshot violence, a few savage beatings, some smothering and a suicide, there's not a ton of bloody stuff to be found here. Sounds like we're being contradictory, I know, but it's really not that bad.

Old country roads never lead to anything besides death. Also, Filipino's are a very nice looking people.

She's very nice looking, too bad she has to die on an old country road like that.
Had the movie been a bit more clever and subtle as far as its mysteries went, it would have been far better off for it. As it stands though, The Road is a well made, mostly effective flick that is stronger in the middle than it is at either of its ends. It's a movie that for us teeters on the edge of the C+/B- dividing line. Either way, it's definitely worth a look see.


I'm pretty sure that all of the other girls in this movie were under 18, so all you get is one picture of Rhian Ramos... because she is not jail-bait. Sotty, readers from Thailand.


  1. We can't help it, we are HUGE horror movie fans! Philippine or other, this movie sounds kind of interesting, we will have to add it to our list.
    So glad we found your blog,

    Liam and Pearl

  2. Yes, yes. It was late and I was tired.

    Be lucky I didn't type "Unception" or something :)

  3. Most of those girls are actually above 18. Filipinos just look about 5-10 years younger than their age.

  4. We're glad you did too, Liam and/or Pearl.

    True, Anon. A few of the stars were under 18, but it was impossible to tell without the aid of Google.

  5. I really like the "overall lay-out" of your Blog Sir....

  6. Thanks Dr. Theda, I try to keep things as lively as possible :)

  7. I'm from the Philippines. To see this movie make it to your list-been avoiding it-is something. Just wanna say thanks for the nice comments. Big fan of THC

  8. Thanks, Lipstick.

    We really love movies that come out of the Pacific Islands and Asia, around here. Especially the horror movies :)