THE CORRIDOR (2011) Review

Directed by Evan Kelly
Written by Josh MacDonald
Starring Matthew Amyotte, Nigel Bennett, Stephen Chambers, David Patrick Flemming, James Gilbert, Glen Matthews

Find out when and where to see this film on THE CORRIDOR website!

There are a lot of films out there today dissecting what it means to be a man in this day and age. From buddy comedies like STEPBROTHERS to dramatic feats of cinema like FIGHT CLUB, modern man has been cast as nothing more than a grown up child—gorging themselves on life’s treasures and throwing tantrums and acting out when life serves up lemons. THE CORRIDOR looks at similar themes as a quintet of college friends get together ten years after one of them has a mental breakdown. For much of the movie, the film focuses on the initial event and the power of the relationships these men share despite the fact that they haven’t seen each other in years. Then for the latter half of the film, the focus is on completely and utterly annihilating those relationships. Though it’s obviously filmed on the budgetary low, it’s this attention to the rise and fall of this relationship between these men that makes THE CORRIDOR one of the most terrifying new films of the year.

A trip to a cabin in the woods seems like a good idea for these five guys. It’s a chance to shoot the shit, play football, watch football, ride snow mobiles, complain about the wife and kids, and pound brewskis. Director Evan Kelly is patient with tossing out the weirdness right off the bat and instead focuses on the strengths and insecurities of these guys, but not in a way that makes it obvious that these insecurities will be played upon later in the film. And these guys are a pretty likable bunch, making it easy to forget this is a horror film, but when the crew stumble across a strange energy field in the middle of the woods, the viewer is quickly reminded that this is a horror film.

The horrifying last portion of THE CORRIDOR mixes modern pop psychology with the darkest of humor as these men are reduced to monsters tearing each other apart. The film not only scares but makes you think about the fragility and maybe the futility of male relations by showing man at its most animalistic. Not the feel good film of the year, for sure, but THE CORRIDOR definitely is a small indie film that packs a wallop with an ending that is both heartfelt and melancholy all at once. THE CORRIDOR is making its way around the festival circuit. Find out when and where to see this film on THE CORRIDOR website!


Directed by Jesse Holland & Andy Mitton
Written by Andy Mitton & Jesse Holland
Starring Michael Laurino, Cassidy Freeman, Clark Freeman, Anessa Ramsey, Lee Wilkof, Alex Draper, Laura Heisler, & Tara Giordano
Find out more info on the film here.

YELLOWBRICKROAD is a wilderness-horror film about a group of researchers investigating the disappearance of an entire town in New England in 1940. The film starts out ominously with aged photos of the abandoned town with a voice over of an audio interview conducted with the lone survivor. Though most of it is inaudible, it does prove to be an ominous opener to a very spooky film.

Soon, we meet our crew of researchers in the present day. Teddy (Michael Laurino) is lead investigator and feels drawn to this story for relatively unknown reasons after receiving information on the fated townsfolk by mysterious means. The rest of the crew is a likable bunch consisting of a psychologist, an intern, a guide, a local, Teddy’s wife, and brother and sister cartographers (Clark & Cassidy Freeman—best known as Tess Luthor from SMALLVILLE and the most recognizable of the bunch). The first half hour allows us to get to know this bunch and unlike other lost in the woods films, these guys are relatively likable. Those townsfolk that weren’t found dead disappeared down a woodland trail and as the research crew follow the same path, they begin to hear music from the 1940’s. Soon the fun begins to chip away as the crew begin to doubt their sanity. Multiple references to THE WIZARD OF OZ and the Yellow Brick Road appear, giving the story some depth and a nice mythos to follow, though the similarities are not poured on too thick. This isn’t a horrific version of Oz, but themes are swiped along the way.

The story falters only briefly as transitions from everything being ok to things turning ominous are occasionally less than subtle. It takes a bit of finesse for a descent into madness story to be effective and in the best of them, you follow the descender along the path and don’t even see the tilt into crazy-town until it’s too late. Here a few of the seams of the transition are noticeable on one or two of the beats (there’s a scene where Teddy has a breakdown that seems to come from nowhere midway through). It’s not a jarring transition, but there were one or two times when I was able to point out, “OK, here’s where things start going nuts.” And sure enough, they do. Not a huge complaint, but it’s something that took me out of the film a second or two as the writing process was a bit noticeable. It was fairly obvious these guys were going down a dark path from the beginning, but the road has to be believable to work. Here, for the most part it is, but there are a few potholes along the way.

Where YELLOWBRICKROAD is successful is the sense of dread the hikers feel along this trail. With haunting old music echoing through the high, swaying trees, the mood is contagiously dire. Using the video camera as a sort of psychological confessional, we see the psychologist of the group chart this descent in a fascinating manner. It’s a smart and subtle way to show how the sanity is beginning to fray at the ends. There is top notch acting throughout, even from the minor players. High in character and low in budget, you never miss the big budget effects. Director/writers Holland and Mitton go for an increasing sense of unease from start to finish until the last shreds of sanity are gone. YELLOWBRICKROAD is one of those films that makes you sit in the theater long after the credits role, thanking that you aren’t one of the poor souls on that trail.