Toad Road, which isn’t really a horror movie but sort of is, has that Harmony Korine vibe of “okay, you guys just screw around and I’m gonna film it”, but with slightly livelier mumblecore than you’d expect. This is at times a Jackass cast doing stupid things like lighting each other on fire and daring strangers to punch them in the head, penises flopping out and body piercings proudly on display. What the heck am I watching here? I can’t deny it’s funny and it has a certain “kids, man…” appeal. And I’ll take these greasy burnouts over the vapid twentysomething models who populate most horror movies. Toad Road’s horror elements are a slow burn, inserted elliptically and sometimes sputtering out and occasionally handled clumsily with painfully bad improv. But director/writer Jason Becker knows enough not to overplay his hand. Except for the Jackass stuff, it’s pretty restrained and its two leads are undeniably appealing. Their chemistry is as real as the chemistry that apparently fueled some of the movie’s drug scenes.
The ultimate power of Toad Road, an intriguing experiment in youth culture and existential horror that you might have to tolerate and appreciate in equal measure, is the title card before the end credits. It was inserted several months after the movie was shot. You’ll obviously want to Google what you discover on that title card. What starts out as a “come on, quit jerking me around, you assholes” becomes an “oh fuck, no”. And it’s a particularly painful “oh fuck, no” in the week after Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death. Is Toad Road better or worse for it? Who can say? But it’s certainly more powerful.
Toad Road is available on VOD. Support Qt3 and watch it on Amazon.com here.