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Thursday, October 3, 2019

Review: The Curse of Buckout Road

Director: Matthew Currie Holmes
Screenplay: Shahin Chandrasoma and Matthew Currie Holmes
Year: 2019

If an urban legend is not enough to make your movie, three is the right number. Or at least this is what Shahin Chandrasoma (“Uncanny”) and Matthew Currie Holmes must have thought when writing the script for what would be the directional debut of Matthew Currie Holmes. Witches, killer albinos, and ghosts get together in a convoluted story that takes place in what is considered to be one of the most haunted places in the United States.

“The Curse of Buckout Road” follows Aaron Powell when he returns to his grandfather's house, Dr. Powell, a renowned psychiatrist. His grandfather has grown interested in a series of events that take place in Buckout Road, an area where the urban legends go as to it being haunted. While Dr. Powell researches the recent events he coincides with Cloe, a young woman that believes she has been cursed by this place and that alongside Aaron starts researching the history of Buckout Road hoping that it might help her save her life.

As part of a university class, Cloe (Dominique Provost-Chalkley; “Avengers: Age of Ultron”) studies the urban legends of Westchester New York and goes exploring the place where they all converge: Buckout Road. The story that places the foundation for the fame of this place is the Buckout marriage and the violent event that took place between them and that made the spirit of the wife to keep roaming the place leading anyone passing by to a fatal destiny.

Cloe, as well as some twin classmates and Aaron (Evan Ross; “Hunger Games: Mocking Jay”) starts having vivid dreams about this legend once they come in contact with the place. These dreams put them inside the legends, which are presented by director Matthew Currie Holmes as different horror movie subgenres. While the story of the Buckout couple is presented as a period movie, that of the albino twins is presented as a ‘70s grindhouse slasher and that of the witches in a folk horror style.

The use of different styles to present the legends is one that is aesthetically captivating, but that collaterally accentuates the disparity and lack of connection among them. This problem is persistent throughout the movie and makes it incoherent and inconsistent. Luckily, the acting of Provost-Chalkley and the limited appearance of Danny Glover (“Lethal Weapon”), not so much that of Ross, along with the discoveries and turns are enough to keep the attention of the viewer.

When it reaches the final stretch is when this movie exhibits its problems to tie together the events and loses all coherence. The most interesting moments take place in this part where each legend and their outcome are deeply explored, but instead of a single story, it feels like a horror anthology. The ending tries to be surprising and fun but ends up showcasing the disparity and incoherence showed with the legends and, clearly, it doesn’t have the desired effect.

“The Curse of Buckout Road” puts the viewer into a series of urban legends in the state of New York in which is considered the most haunted road in the country. Each legend on its own is interesting and well-crafted with a unique style that shows the versatility and creativity of Matthew Currie Holmes as a director, but that has serious issues in joining them together in a coherent story. It presents some interesting stuff, as the aforementioned visual style of each legend, but fails in immersing the viewer in the story and of it being frightening.

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