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Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Review: Dark Roads 79

Director: Chase Smith
Screenplay: Chase Smith and Richard Krevolin
Year: 2020

"Dark Roads 79" makes use of the legend that has roamed around the entertainment world and music in particular, where there are rumors of artists who sold their souls for fame and success. Maybe the most known of these cases is that of Robert Johnson, who is rumored that after being away for some time reemerged with some impressive guitar skills that led many to think that he had sold his soul for this ability and that this transaction was responsible for his untimely death. 

In 1979, a southern rock band was faced with some difficult times after their success had been slowly fading. With the foal of working on new music that can bring back their fame, the band known as Dark Roads goes to a secluded cabin. There they find out the reason why they got famous and this revelation ends up in a night of violence and madness.

As expected from a movie based around a rock band, the music is great and is presented with crisp sound quality. However, this sound quality is not extended to the dialogues and other effects of the movie. This difference is most noticeable when it goes from a montage over one of the songs to an exposition scene or when a character screams and the microphone saturates, compromising the sound quality. It is also worth mentioning the storm sound effects in the climax that make no sense at all. 

The acting in general by the cast starring David A. Flannery (“Detroit”), April Bogenschutz (“Penance Lane”) y Chase Smith (“Creature Feature”), this last one who also directs and cowrites the movie alongside Richard Krevolin (“Attachments”), is decent and only go out of tune in the scenes where the band or some member is shown with their respective instruments. These scenes get even hard to watch because of how some actors have no idea about how their instruments work and because of the little effort that was put into it looking at least realistic. Bill Moseley ("Boar"; “Crepitus”) has a cameo and, as usual, he does a great job, but his character is not important to the plot. Eddie George ("The Game Plan") also has a cameo interpreting the legendary Robert Johnson in a disappointing way and is impressive that an actor of his level didn't study the mannerisms of his character with the guitar when the instrument is the center of his fame and legend.

"Dark Roads 79" has a runtime of 94 minutes that could have easily been trimmed down to 60 minutes. Many scenes are overly extended without offering much to the plot and shortening many of these scenes could have finished in a more concise product and with much more tension. Some of these scenes have the purpose of making the most out of the soundtrack that, without a doubt is its best asset, but other scenes don't even comply with this.

"Dark Roads 79" bases its plot on rumors of how artists sold their souls for fame and success. Those that enjoy rock music will certainly enjoy its music, that is the best part of the movie, but ironically is not one of its best attributes. The key parts of the plot are good enough to keep the viewer engaged in what will happen next, but the time it takes to get to them is a challenge. 

Terror Films will make Dark Roads 79 available on digital platforms by the end of May 2020.

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