Film Review: RoadKill (2011)


SYNOPSIS:

Six young friends on a road trip in Ireland run afoul of gypsies who curse them for accidentally running down an old woman. The curse takes the form of a terrifying flying beast that tries killing them all.

REVIEW:

Directed by Johannes Roberts
Written by Rick Suvalle
Starring: Kacey Barnfield, Stephen Rea, Eliza Bennett

Best line: “Ok, I don’t know what is more creepy: imagining some gypsy death hawk, or freaky, feral kid out there.”

Either movies produced by the SyFy Channel are growing on me or they are genuinely becoming more entertaining to watch. Perhaps it’s some combination of the two.

The first SyFy movie I reviewed was Behemoth, a movie about an ancient creature that lay dormant just beneath the Earth’s crust until it awoke underneath a sleepy Northwestern town known for seismic activity. It was not one of my favorites.

The next one was a Roger Corman produced film called Dinoshark. In many ways it was infinitely more ridiculous than Behemoth, and yet, somehow, it was infinitely more entertaining. I giggled from beginning to end. The best part was Eric Balfour’s leap from a jet ski to kill the film’s namesake.

Roadkill is closer to the Dinoshark side of the two.

The distinction that Roadkill makes is that the acting is surprisingly good, the story concept is rather nifty even though the gypsy-curse angle has been recycled from films like Thinner (1996) and Drag Me to Hell (2009), and there’s actually some credible character development. Honestly. At one point in the movie, our unfortunate group of travelers, taking refuge in their RV, is being besieged by the terror of the curse (more on that in a sec) when they get a flat tire. Knowing full well that the tire needs to be changed, and whoever does it most likely isn’t going to make it back in the RV, they do rock, paper scissors to determine who gets to change it. I’ve never really seen an intense version of roe sham bo before this movie.

There’s another scene when one of the last remaining young travelers has come to terms with the fact that he’s not much longer for this world. He makes a phone call to his Dad and gets his Dad’s voice mail. The message he leaves is surprisingly touching as he clearly wants to say “I love you” but just can’t form the words. I suppose you’d have to see it to understand, but I was not expecting to be affected in that way watching this movie.

That being said, there is one constant in Roadkill that exists in the other two SyFy films I’ve reviewed: the tremendously awful special effects. As I’ve said before, in Behemoth, it pissed me off. In Dinoshark, I was overjoyed with it. Again, Roadkill provided me with the latter.

The beasty in Roadkill is supposed to be a Roc. The Roc from Greek mythology, or even Dungeons and Dragons, was large enough to destroy a huge boat. The Roc in Roadkill is a little bigger than the RV that it terrorizes. It also looks like a skinless condor. Couple that with the fact that the animation is almost as good as Ray Harryhausen’s work…in the early 1960’s…and you have a wonderful dichotomy in film: a well acted film that lures you into a workable story that then sucker punches you in the face with laughable special effects. It almost feels like their standing over you, saying, “Oooooh! We GOT you!”

It is for this reason, and the others I’ve mentioned above that I recommend to you this movie. Enjoy!

Roadkill is now available on DVD from Vivendi Entertainment

RoadKill (2011)

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