Saturday, January 18, 2014

Netflix Movie Review: Toad Road

My wife and I tried to watch Toad Road. We did some fast forwarding. We did not enjoy it. Netflix described the movie:

Feeling he’s living a meaningless life in a small town, disaffected junkie James jumps at the chance to escort newcomer Sara to Toad Road – and risk whatever may happen as they pass seven wooden gates that lead toward hell.

            I would respect the makers of this movie more if they would have not mentioned Toad Road at all, it is such a miniscule part of the actual movie that I believe the sole purpose of even mentioning it in the movie’s description is to make this movie seem more interesting than it really is.
            I read somewhere on the internet that the movie was kind of a nod to Gus Van Sant movies, and had I known that I much more likely would not have watched this movie. I am not a Gus Van Sant fan, so the idea of someone trying to be like him and mimic his style of gritty and in your face picture of reality sounds even more not-my-thing.
            All of that aside, I knew none of that. My wife and I, going off the description, were expecting a horror movie. To be fair, Netflix does not have this as a horror but an independent experimental thriller, which we may have glossed over, choosing to center more on the gates of hell aspect of the movie. That would be our bad, but again, that’s the joy of Netflix; not sure about the movie, just give it a try, no good? Move on to the next one.

            We watched maybe 20 or 30 minutes of the beginning. Nothing but drug addicted young people living on their own, partying! Awesome!

            Ever been to a party where you don’t know anyone? That’s what this was like, there’s no getting to know these people. You see the main character guy at a therapy session but you learn nothing about him. We don’t know any of these people (and maybe that’s because in our own lives we’ve never known people like this, maybe your younger drug addicted doppelgangers would like and understand the people in this movie and in turn enjoy the movie) so we don’t care about them.

            Still, the idea of watching this guy and girl who we do not care about or particularly like make their way towards Hell was entertaining.

            Unfortunately, like the rest of the movie, it was not. At all.

            The first minute they started eating mushrooms I knew the movie would have no pay off. I felt it. The rest of the movie would be a meandering mess of weird visions and “is this real?” type of situations with flashes of the main characters covered in blood and just all around images that are meant to disturb but were only dull.
            As I said, I read some information on the movie and found out that the main female character passed away not long after the film was completed.

           Sara Anne Jones was 24 years old when she died on September 4, 2012. Knowing this makes me think about possibly going back and watching more of the movie. I could easily believe that had she moved away from “gritty” movies like this her career would have been a major one, especially with her also being a writer. She seemed like a cool enough kid, although the sort of people she was hanging out with – who may be perfectly nice – were maybe just not the right people for her to be spending time with.

            I could see how someone somewhere would enjoy this movie, but for me, I find it interesting only in the fact that it could have really started the career of Sara Anne Jones, and it’s worth watching just for her and how comfortable she was in front of the camera, and how she expressed so much emotion through her eyes and face.

            The movie is more of a drama, with no thrills or horror, just a sad highlight of a group of kids lost among themselves and their own more powerful demons, and all of it done in such a way that we can not relate to any of them, which may be the saddest part of all.

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