BRIGHT HILL ROAD (2020)
Directed by Robert Cuffley
Written by Susie Moloney
Starring Siobhan Williams, Michael Eklund, Agam Darshi, Sally Cacic
After a workplace shooting, barely functioning alcoholic Marcy (Siobhan Williams) is put on forced leave to get herself together and decides to go to California to stay with her sister for a while. But on her way there, she finds herself in a low rent hotel hosted by a kind and knowingly Ms. Inman (Agam Darshi), but once she checks into the hotel, Marcy finds it extremely hard to leave. Struggling with her own pangs to drink, tempted by a wine bottle which continues to show up on her dresser, and horrified by nightmarish imagery day and night, Marcy tries her hardest to overcome her addiction.
I predicted the “big twist” in BRIGHT HILL ROAD right from the beginning and if you’re a savvy horror movie watcher, you know where this film is going and how it’s going to end up. I’m not trying to claim some prize for guessing what type of film this is and how it would turn out. I’m just saying that this is a particular type of film that is very easy to predict, very early on. When this occurs, the importance is if other factors of the film are able to entertain and retain my interest. Luckily, BRIGHT HILL ROAD has a strong cast and a decent direction, despite me being able to call this film from jump street.
Siobhan Williams is great as Marcy. It’s tough playing someone so self-destructive and maintain likability, but she’s able to walk that line. As Marcy goes through withdrawal, she’s pretty horrible to everyone, but Williams gives us enough fragile moments to get invested in her fate. Michael Eklund, as usual, is amazing as Owen, a mysterious stranger who moves in down the hall. Ecklund has made a career of playing snake-like devilish characters representative of temptation and the dark side and does do well here, though he does add a few more layers in BRIGHT HILL ROAD that makes him deeper than just a simply bad influence on Marcy.
While I wouldn’t call BRIGHT HILL ROAD an effects spectacular, but the simple effects and solid editing featuring those effects is well done. Occasionally, we will get glimpses at what Marcy’s soul looks like and through some bare-bones makeup and quick edits these do end up being shocking scenes. BRIGHT HILL ROAD has a predictable story, but it makes up for it with some powerful performances and clever directing. I can’t say I found this film to be surprising, but maybe you will. At least everything around the plot works.