‘Autumn Road’ is a Winding Journey into Grief and Madness [Review]
The new Halloween-set horror drama Autumn Road is a long and winding story of twin brothers who run a haunted house, which their father started when they were kids and where a young girl disappeared a decade earlier.
The film is written and directed by Riley Cusick, who ambitiously also stars, taking on dual roles as twins Charlie, the shy and sensible one, and Vincent, the volatile and unhinged one.
Lorelei Linklater (Boyhood, Bomb City) co-stars as Laura, the haunted sister of the young girl who vanished while trick or treating on Halloween Night. She is an aspiring actress, who has returned to her hometown and reconnects with Charlie and Vincent. Lar Park-Lincoln (Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood) has a cameo appearance as Laura’s mom.
Vincent is frustrated with the family haunt business and wants to try new, more extreme scares, but Charlie doesn’t want to try to fix what isn’t already broken. After experimenting with an escalating string of violent acts, Vincent grows even more frustrated when he sees Charlie bonding with Laura, who discovers that the haunt is the last place her sister was seen and it was the twins who saw her last.
Just as all is about to be revealed, a tragic incident puts Charlie on the sidelines and gives Vincent the final excuse he needs to give in to his darker impulses and desires.
The entire film, including an early flashback prelude, is set against the backdrop of Halloween itself, with flourishes of hallosphere (Halloween atmosphere), especially inside the haunt, plentiful throughout the film’s 95 minute runtime. Vincent’s mask of choice is a giant night owl’s face, imagery that effectively ties in to a story from the brothers’ childhood.
This is less a horror film than it is a moody exploration into the minds of these two brothers, but it definitely has a number of moments that earn it a place in the genre.
For a new flavor of Halloween movie, one need only take a ride down Autumn Road, a serious-minded drama wrapped in a haunting tale of twisted souls.
Autumn Road is out now on VOD in North America, from Gravitas Ventures. You can watch via Amazon Prime Video here.
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