In 1940 the entire population of Friar, New Hampshire - over 550 people, walked into the wilderness together and vanished without a trace. It is the present day and a writer and his crew of dedicated individuals have decided to walk the same path as those people in the hopes of discovering what truly happened to those people in 1940 whether it kills them or not. This is the premise of YellowBrickRoad (2010).
The film is part survival film and part road trip (only in the woods) and part paranoid psychological thriller. As the writer and his group travel deeper into the woods following the so-called “yellow brick road” to a destination none of them are aware of their minds start to unwind and cripple under the stress until they start to turn on each other. Now they must decide whether to continue to the end of their journey at which point the truth may kill them or turn back and never know the truth and let it haunt them forever.
As a psychological thriller it works really well as the first half of the film does a great job in setting up the premise of the film as well as establishing the characters and their relationships and their faults which may lead to their downfall. Ultimately, those looking for a run-of-the-mill horror film will be in for a surprise as this is a slow burning film as friendships and alliances slowly break down until only paranoia is left. There are a few gory moments but these add punch to the progression of the film without taking over or becoming a distraction.
Written and directed by Jesse Holland and Andy Milton the film is actually better than expected with solid performances by a very good ensemble cast. This is one of those rare indie horror films that is worth the price of admission.