Autumn Road (2021) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

Autumn Road (2021) Review

Horrorific content by AngelaNolan on December 10th, 2021 | Movie Review | Slasher, Killer, Psychological, Holiday, Haunted House

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It’s about a young woman, Laura, who returns to her hometown where her sister disappeared ten years before and encounters a strange pair of twins running a haunted house attraction.

Autumn Road was directed by Riley Cusick and stars Riley Cusick, Justin Meeks (from Kill Or Be Killed) and Lar Park Lincoln (from 13 Fanboy, Sky Sharks and House II: The Second Story).

Autumn Road (2021)

To be honest I was a little apprehensive when I saw that Riley Cusick wrote, directed, and starred as the twins in Autumn Road as it screamed ‘vanity project’, but actually it’s more like a labour of love and I thoroughly enjoyed this film. The protagonist Laura is an actress and early in the movie she begins to write a screenplay with a friend who says they don’t need to wait for auditions, they can just write parts for themselves, and I did wonder if this was Riley Cusick poking some gentle fun at himself.

A lot is packed into the opening scene before we’re treated to a fun title sequence that seems at least partially inspired by Halloween (1978). After this the movie slows considerably but it holds your attention all the way through with its interesting main trio of characters. They are all marked by the same trauma, and have different levels of knowledge about it, and respond differently. As the movie is set in small town America, there is nowhere to hide from the consequences of their actions and this leads to a shocking act of vigilante justice that is in stark contrast to the gentle pace of the film up to then. This means it really packs a punch and it will stick with you. This scene serves as a catalyst to speed up the pace for the finale where the haunted house attraction finally gets to play a part. I think not utilising it throughout is a wasted opportunity.

Outside the main three, the secondary characters in the movie are a little one-dimensional and some are irritating but thankfully they’re not shown very often, they are clearly just there to further the plot.

The soundtrack is incredibly effective at setting the tone and this is a very accomplished movie with high quality filming. Apart from a little wooden acting, from the children at the beginning and occasionally the lead actress, and a lack of gore you wouldn’t know it was a low budget feature debut. I’m interested to see what Riley Cusick does next.

Worth Watching?

Yes. Plot-wise it’s not telling a new story but it’s done well and it’s an enjoyable watch. I’d also recommend watching some of Riley Cusick’s shorts on Vimeo if you like this.

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