tisdag 23 augusti 2011

Yellowbrickroad (2010)

I came out of this movie not really knowing what to think of it, it took me more than a week to sort out my feelings about it and finally put it into words. Yellowbrickroad is a hard movie to digest since it is essentially a moodpiece, not interested in laying everything out, seemingly more concerned with _not_ answering the questions the movie asks. I think this will piss a lot of people off, but then again, most of the reviews I've read online seems to feel the same way as me. It is all about the journey, not when, where and how. In that retrospect, Yellowbrickroad does an excellent job. Well, until that ending.

It was the plot that caught my eye, finding the movie on a dvdsite and I realized that I had to buy it, without reading very many reviews. In 1940 the entire population of Friar, New Hampshire left everything they owned and walked up a mountain trail. Months later after a large manhunt had searched the area, about half of them were found. Most had just frozen to death but some were mutilated. A massive coverup classified the details but in 2008 the coordinates of the trail are released and of course, a group of people with an interest in writing a book about the event start an expedition to travel the same mountain trail. And you know things will turn bad. The whole area is flooded out of nowhere with music from the 40s, a slow croon that normally would be comfortably soothing. Not here though. As people start to lose memories and behave erratically, the journey down yellowbrickroad wont have any happy endings.

Yellowbrickroad does not explain things. It shows you a journey into a degenerative landscape, where the environment is not exactly deadly but it does things to you. People start to lose previous memories and need to repeat things over and over again not to lose grip over their own minds. Strange soundphenomena assault the travellers both aurally and visually (in a truly awesome sequence that makes me rate the movie much higher than it actually might deserve). Clearly this is a place where they should not be, and this adds even more conflict. Some want to turn back and some want to follow the road to its end.

I did like this movie a lot, there is no doubt about that. It is well staged, scrumptiously enigmatic and has an atmosphere that I havent seen since Tarkovskijs Stalker. Some of the setpieces are truly spectacular, in particular the one I mentioned earlier where a rather nasty sound tries to fuck everyone up and ends with a very nasty and gorgeous image. The forest is a creature in itself since the movie never truly explains what is going on, making you feel like the woods and trees are in on it, slowly killing everyone both mentally and pysically. I am divided towards the issue of the movies vagueness. It does help in maintaining the overbearing mood, but it all leads up to what in the end is a very unsatisfying ending that comes out of nowhere. It is somehow fitting the movie and features more of that nice imagery but... It doesnt ruin the movie but it is vague in the extreme.

So, why should you watch this movie? It is a good and very unforgiving horrormovie. Very brutal and haunting. It is well shot, well acted and has a slowly calculated pace going for it, if you are into that kind of movie. You should go into it with an open mind, this is not your average slasher remake.

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