ROAD HEAD (2020)
Directed by David Del Rio.
Written by Justin Xavier.
Starring Elizabeth Grullon, Damian Joseph Quinn, Ryan Sutton Stevens, Sierra Santana, Paul T. Taylor, Clayton Farris, Adam Nemet, David McKee, Clay Acker, Schoen Hodges, Kevin Mouren-Laurens
On a trip to a lake in the middle of the desert (yes, you heard me right) a trio of twenty-somethings happen upon a pair of severed heads stacked neatly in the road, followed by an encounter with a chain mail wearing barbarian swordsman. Those who survive the first encounter are in store for more nightmares in this horror comedy called ROAD HEAD.
The titular act occurs twice in ROAD HEAD, both times resulting in disaster, so I guess this is a PSA against all of that business. Or maybe it is a pro-gay movie as two of the main characters are gay, but then again, it seems the evil cult the trio happen upon is made up of gay men or closeted gay men or gay men in denial or men in drag. So the pro-gay message is a little murky as well. Turns out, this really isn’t a movie with much of a message. It’s just a bunch of messed up shit happening and less about a moral lectures. While the two main characters are gay, that doesn’t mean this is a movie that is going to be preachy about it. There’s even a point where one of the characters says, “Ugh, straight people…” referring to the killer cult and the other survivor responds, “They’re not straight.” I love this as it is a film that’s not out to change minds or push agendas, it’s just a story that happens to have gay people in it.
It’s also quite an entertaining one. While the tone of the film kind of wobbles too and fro from being a wonky comedy—utilizing sight gags, daffy sound effects, and over the top characters, to being a deeper story about the complexities of friendships, relationships, and survival. One character is bonked over the head with a rolling pin and it actually sounds like a cartoon bonk. But for every scene like that, there’s some strong character work shown by angry jilted lover Stephanie (Elizabeth Grullon) and the optimistic to a fault Alex (Damian Joseph Quinn) as they fight for their lives against these weirdos in Medieval garb in the middle of the desert.
For such a character-centric film, don’t worry, it doesn’t forget to deliver the gory stuff. Heads are lopped the fuck off. And other parts are severed, sliced, pierced, and basically fucked up. This is a nicely gory film that again, only adds to the fun if you’re the horror movie type—and why are you here if you aren’t?
ROAD HEAD isn’t a movie that is fighting the patriarchy. Nor is it a Hollywood film trying to prove how woke they are by casting gay characters in the lead roles. It’s just a movie with two out of the three leads being gay. I love it. The less in your face things are about “hot button” issues such as gay cinema the more it will soon become a thing of the past to differentiate gay films from straight films and they’ll just be referred to as films. ROAD HEAD is a horror film. It’s a fun and gory horror film with a frantic pace. It’s not out to change the world. It just tries to tell an engaging story with interesting characters fighting insurmountable odds in a harsh environment. This isn’t a game-changer, but ROAD HEAD accomplishes its goal of being a gory, sometimes goofy, good time and I recommend it for folks who like that type of film.
Check out the trailer here!!