Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Film Review: Munger Road (2011)

Munger Road (Review)
United States/2011
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"The little horror in Munger Road is not enough to save it from mediocrity."

A group of friends visit the locally legendary Munger Road said to be haunted by kids who died horrible deaths -- either by a vicious murderer or train accident. At the same time, two small town police officers search for an escaped serial killer...

Munger Road has an interesting story. I love urban legends, and this film plays out like one. So, the group of friends visit Munger Road for a small experiment, but, as they return home, they find themselves stranded. And, there seems to be an ominous presence surrounding them. Meanwhile, two police officers search for an escaped serial killer by following different leads -- visiting abandoned homes and vans, and so on. Eventually, the police officers and the teenagers cross paths, in a way. The ending of the film is unfulfilling and abrupt; it ends with a "To Be Continued." title, but without closure nor promise, especially considering the sequel is nowhere in sight.

The main problem with Munger Road is its generic writing and characters. Every character seems to be copied from other films and pasted into Munger Road. It doesn't help that both guys are obnoxious, and their girlfriends are ridiculously stuck-up. They're also not very smart and bi-polar, as they stupidly separate and one character switches emotions so quickly. And, the dialogue, oh the dialogue: "Did you call me a bitch? You called me a bitch? Like, oh my God, Becky, he called me a bitch!" (note: not verbatim, but you get the jist.) Oh, as for the cops, one is an old-timer and the other is a young guy who's afraid of everything. Ultimately, the comic relief in this film, from either group, falls flat.

As for horror, Munger Road has a spooky atmosphere. The ominous feeling is great during the scenes on Munger Road. There are a few loud noise jump scares, a few work well, but most fail. There are also a few scenes with great suspense, but, unfortunately, suspense really isn't used often in the film. I liked some of the eerie, subtle images in the film, like the first time we see an ominous figure standing behind the car. The stupid and annoying characters may hurt the film significantly, but at least there is some horror.

The acting was good from the entire cast. Everyone speaks clearly, and show some solid emotions; there are a few lines that sound robotic, but it's definitely not bad for a low-budget horror film. The music is good, as well, although it does get repetitive. Nicholas Smith's writing and direction are really at fault here. The writing really doesn't develop its characters or its story, and the ending is almost offensively mediocre -- again, it feels so rushed and abrupt, kinda like Smith said, "I don't know where this is heading, so I'll just bullshit it and address it later... or never." (queue: Vincent Price sinister laugh) The direction also suffers as he doesn't pull enough from his cast and there are some inconsistencies, as well.

Overall, Munger Road has some solid horror elements and it will kill a night if you have nothing better to watch. But, the writing is bad, the characters are annoying and stupid, and the ending is a slap in the face. The little horror in Munger Road is not enough to save it from mediocrity.

Score: 4/10
Parental Guide: Some violence and blood.

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