By David Dent
Rather like the rash of movies a few years ago that were based around the actual Aokigahara suicide forest in Japan, Buckout Road is a real place in the Westchester area of New York state, advertised widely as one of the most haunted pieces of tarmac in the USA (in the interests of research I followed it, from start to finish, via an online mapping system, but didn’t see anything more spooky than some ‘no parking’ signs – oh well).
The fusing of documented myths about the area into the film is just one reason why the low budget ‘The Curse of Buckout Road’ (released last year simply as ‘Buckout Road’) really works. It’s also a proper old school horror movie.
Dr. Lawrence Powell, a former pastor turned police psychologist, is concerned over a rash of suicides taking place in the same location on the Buckout Road. His returning grandson Aaron, an orphan, a discharged soldier with a penchant for reading Immanuel Kant, becomes friends with Chloe Harris who is being treated by Powell. Chloe has been having visions of being abducted to the same roadside area, and it’s not long before Aaron is seeing things.
The visions relate to the history of the area and an ancient evil that may be returning to the present. But when Powell dies in a mysterious car accident, it’s apparent that there are human agencies at work and up to no good as well.
At first, I thought Matthew Currie Holmes’s debut feature was one of those evangelically funded good vs evil things, but thankfully it’s much better than that. Belief and religion, old and new are central themes, but it’s the mix of reality, myth, and fiction that keeps this one going.
Anyone casually researching this area will be surprised at the sheer variety of hauntings witnessed in the vicinity, and Holmes crams them all into his film. It’s a little confusing (I’ve only begun to scratch the surface plot-wise) but ‘The Curse of Buckout Road’ moves at a fair pace and chucks in some good scares too (there’s a scene towards the beginning of the movie that gave this jaded reviewer the wim wams).
The cast is thankfully more than generic teen cutouts and there’s a bit of an all-age selection unlike a lot of genre fare these days (even ‘veteran’ Danny Glover gets a look in as Lawrence Powell). This is a movie that’s worth seeing more than once – there’s a lot going on – and which should stand the test of time, although c*lt cl*ssic might be pushing it a bit. Good fun though.
The Curse of Buckout Road is available now on VOD.