“Road Trash” is a fun and inventive debut horror from Natasha Pascetta, who proves herself to be a talented filmmaker both in front and behind the camera.
Alice has an addiction. She spends her days looking for and then burying roadkill. However, when she unknowingly buries a grotesque looking head belonging to a werewolf, she doesn’t put it to rest but only incites the beast to come back and seek revenge.
Road Trash is a fun debut short from Natasha Pascetta, who proves herself to be a multifaceted filmmaker. Despite being her first film, Natasha not only produced, wrote and directed Road Trash, but she also plays the lead character Alice.
With 80s horror cited as the film’s influence, it would have been well suited to the horror anthologies of the time like Creepshow (1982).
This is especially true as the film moves between the visual comedy and the underlining horror, which comes with a moral warning. Because even the most well-meaning deeds can come with a deadly price.
Apart from the werewolf who is resurrected, the film develops an eerie sense of solitude as it focuses on Alice while she undertakes her slightly morbid, but kind-hearted hobby of burying the roadkill. As expected with such an unusual purpose in life, Alice’s chosen calling is not a group activity. And the sight of her walking down the street, with crosses on her back and dragging a shovel, doesn’t make her seem very approachable.
Natasha looks comfortable being the centric focus of the film.
She carries herself well throughout, while delivering a physically articulated performance despite not having any spoken words. She initially portrays the character with an almost distant and somewhat cold and impassive personality. Although, this does become more animated once she finds herself being pursued by a werewolf.
While no words are spoken by characters in the film, the events are narrated by Heather Langenkamp. Her voice will be instantly recognizable to some horror fans as Nancy from A Nightmare on Elm Street fame. Heather is a great choice for the film, adding a playful nature to her story telling, as if she is reading a fairy tale. Her tone, however, changes later in the film as the story becomes darker. And it descends into an almost aggressive wrath in the later stages as she delivers a stern warning.
Natasha is obviously a horror fan. And with Heather Langenkamp involved, she deliberately incorporates several less than subtle nods to A Nightmare on Elm Street. Other refences include a nod to the werewolf sub-genre with films such as The Howling (1981), which looks to have been an influence on the film’s main antagonist.
There are some effective moments where the violence and horror elements are shown off screen.
But surprisingly for a short film, we also get a good look at the werewolf as he is brought out from the shadows.
With the prosthetic special effects and lighting, both the original skull and werewolf in full form look good on screen.
I loved the film’s score composed by James Malon, which uses a mixture 80’s style electronic synthesizers and a more eerie melodic piano. However, it is the reoccurring heavy metal score that really stood out for me, especially as it works so well with the narration by Heather.
Despite a fairly simple concept, this film is brilliantly executed.
And although it may seem like a fairly straightforward monster movie at the start, like so many good shorts, it later reveals a unique killer twist.