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PURGATORY ROAD (2017)

Directed by Mark Savage
Written by Tom Parnell, Mark Savage
Starring Gary Cairns, Luke Albright, Trista Robinson, Sylvia Grace Crim, Manon Pages, Geoff Falk, Douglas Cunningham, Chace Beck, Tom Parnell, John Read, Noah Cook, Heather Cazes, Jerry Lousteau, Jeremy Sande, Jack Teague, Micheal Robinson, Jacob Craig Bullock, Michael Lebeau, Melody Brooke, Hunter McGregor, James Harlon Palmer, Dwana Haley
Find out more about this film here and @purgatoryroadmoviediary

PURGATORY ROAD is an ambitious religious slasher movie with bizarre and fascinating characters and some wickedly fun ideas that will make you overlook some of the film’s low budget setbacks.

Father Vincent (Gary Cairns) and his brother Michael (Luke Albright) drive the highways and byways across America in a mobile home souped up to be a mobile church. But because of some childhood trauma, Vincent has problems with folks who confess to stealing and those sinners end up dying. Michael, being the good brother he is, helps Vincent cover up the murders. Trista Robinson plays Mary Francis, a travelling murderess herself who likes to call in and confess her murders on a local radio show. When the three of these people meet, they form a fragile alliance giving in to Vincent and Mary Francis’ murderous desires. But just how long can this alliance last with Michael growing weary of covering up his brother’s murders, Mary Francis being a bit of a thief on top of being a murderer, and, as you remember, Vincent not liking thieves so much.

The three characters of Vincent, Michael, and Mary Francis are well developed, each feeding off of each other’s desires, quirks, and mental problems. This conflict is set up nicely and really makes for a tension filled watch as it is just a matter before these powerful forces destroy each other. Each of the characters’ pathos is well realized and it really seems writer/director Mark Savage and his co-writer Tom Parnell worked hard on making the interactions and developments between these characters feel believable and real. The destruction of this alliance is inevitable, but the trip there is a fun one.

While the film houses cool characters, the story is somewhat predictable. The focus is definitely on character and not the kills, but I kind of wish more time would have been spent on making the murderous activity a bit spicier. Unfortunately, the kills are relatively the same and the film repeats itself a few times too many, making the whole thing a bit tedious after the third or fourth time someone meets an end. There are also some definite acting problems along the way. The actors are trying their hardest to give their best performances, but I think the script calls for more than the actors can handle at times.

PURGATORY ROAD is a rarity in that the filmmakers seem to be more interested in doing some solid characterization and storytelling rather than the usual shock and awe that comes with most horror films. This type of approach to horror should be applauded and I do give it up to the film for trying to make a legitimately original film. If you look past the low budget and acting skips, there is a whole lot to like about this devious little film.