Equally creepy and compelling, “The Curse of Buckout Road” puts a clever new spin on urban legends while paying loving homage to midnight horror.
See the film during its limited theatrical run beginning September 27th, plus discover how you can win exclusive film merchandise by pre-ordering your tickets to the Austin, Texas screening on October 7th.
I recently had the opportunity to screen the directorial debut of actor/musician turned filmmaker Matthew Currie Holmes. The Curse of Buckout Road was inspired by the real life (rumored to be) haunted stretch of road located in New York State. The film opens with a quote from Fran Capo, in his book “Myths and Mysteries of New York: True Stories of the Unsolved and Unexplained”:
“…There is a part of Westchester, New York that you would be smart to avoid, especially at night. That area is Buckout Road…home to every kind of urban legend imaginable.”
I’m a sucker for urban legends and real life ghost stories, so I was pumped to see this film from the synopsis alone. Fortunately, THE CURSE OF BUCKOUT ROAD does not disappoint.
I had an absolute blast with this well-paced and engaging film that’s part dramatic psychological thriller, part supernatural mystery, and part satisfying throwback to 80s grindhouse horror. It kept me guessing throughout, and filmmaker Matthew Currie Holmes does a great job balancing the tonal shifts as the film moves effortlessly from humor, to drama, to creeping suspense.
There are two things I look for when watching indie horror films — two things that help certain films rise well above the pack to leave a lasting impression.
Although it seems pedantic to say, the first thing that really impresses me is an exceptionally well made film.
As much as I love and support low budget and micro budget filmmaking, many films suffer from lackluster or uneven performances, sloppy writing, poor cinematography, and technical failures in lighting, sound design, or editing. While allowances can and should be made for budget constraints, the best filmmakers know how to maximize every dollar in the budget to deliver a film that looks and sounds far more expensive than it should.
THE CURSE OF BUCKOUT ROAD is a perfect example of this in action.
Currie Holmes brings an expertise and assuredness behind the camera that reflects the work of a more seasoned filmmaker.
He also demonstrates a strong ability to elicit powerful performances from his talented cast. To put it plainly, this film looks incredible. Creative filmmaking choices are used to great effect for the re-enactments (shown through dream sequences) of the creepy urban legends the road is famous for. It’s also here that he demonstrates a real passion for the genre, which brings us to the next highlight of this film.
THE CURSE OF BUCKOUT ROAD is a supernatural love letter to the midnight movies of the 1980s that Currie Holmes grew up on. The captivating dream sequences play out as mini films within a film, each shot in its own unique style.
The scenes — which include three witches being burned at the stake and teens being terrorized by albino cannibals — pay homage to genre tropes and the various cinematic stylings of the 70s and 80s. They are as disturbing as they are visually compelling. Rich textures and thoughtful costume design add a sense of authenticity to the nightmarish sequences.
This is a film made for horror fans by someone who is also an avid fan. At no point does Currie Holmes talk down to or pander to the audience. There’s a genuine affection for the genre and genre fans that’s infused in every scene, every line of well written dialogue, and every convincing characterization. There’s an attention to detail that highlights both the expertise and the heart behind the camera.
Meanwhile, in front of the camera, the cast really shines.
Veteran actor Danny Glover is every bit as good as you’d expect to him to be, and his presence in the film instantly lends a sense of gravitas to the proceedings.
He’s joined by two other seasoned, powerhouse actors, Henry Czerny and Colm Feore. Both more than deliver, especially Czerny who is every bit the scene-stealing showman he was in the recent horror hit Ready or Not.
But it’s not just the pros who bring their A-game. Young actors Evan Ross and Dominque Provost-Chalkley are exceptional.
Ross plays his character with a subtle hard edge while remaining utterly likable and sympathetic. Provost-Chalkley is a standout and simply mesmerizing to watch on screen. Additionally, Kyle Mac and Jim Watson add great comedic relief as a pair of endearing, fraternal stoner twins.
There are a few solid shocks and a subtle, restrained use of gore. But don’t go into this film expecting an over-the-top bloodbath or a jump scare-fueled ghost film. Instead, Currie Holmes relies on well developed characters and intelligent storytelling to build suspense and make you care. There’s also some interesting subtext about the eternal battle of faith versus fact that adds surprising depth to the film.
SPECIAL THEATRICAL SCREENINGS
When I received the digital screener, Matthew requested that I watch the film with headphones on to get the full, immersive viewing experience.
He was especially proud of the work his sound team had done on the film — and rightfully so. This is the kind of film tailor made for the big screen, best enjoyed with theater-quality surround sound.
Fortunately, the film is receiving a limited theatrical run thanks to its distributor, Vertical Entertainment.
Beginning September 27th, audiences in select cities across the United States and Canada can watch the film in theaters. US cities include New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, Houston, Detroit, Tampa, Minnesota, and Miami.
However, as a result of fan demand to see the film in more cities, Trimuse Entertainment, in association with Gathr, is sponsoring several one night only screenings of the film on Monday, October 7th. These special screenings will only take place if enough tickets are reserved in advance. All tickets must be pre-ordered online by September 23rd.
No tickets will be available at the door. You will only be charged if the screening reaches the minimum number of reservations.
The “theatrical on demand” screenings will take place in the following cities (click on the link next to the city to purchase tickets for the show):
- Austin, TX: bit.ly/thecurseofbuckoutroad-austin
- Atlanta, GA: bit.ly/thecurseofbuckoutroad-atl
- Burbank, CA: bit.ly/thecurseofbuckoutroad-la
- Buffalo, NY: bit.ly/thecurseofbuckoutroad-buffalo
- Charlotte, NC (October 9th): bit.ly/thecurseofbuckoutroad-charlotte
- Concord, NC: bit.ly/thecurseofbuckoutroad-concord
- Glendale, AZ: bit.ly/thecurseofbuckoutroad-az
- San Francisco, CA: bit.ly/thecurseofbuckoutroad-sf
- Yonkers, NY: bit.ly/thecurseofbuckoutroad-yonkers
- West Palm Beach, FL: bit.ly/thecurseofbuckoutroad-wpb
Morbidly Beautiful is honored to be sponsoring the screening of THE CURSE OF BUCKOUT ROAD in our hometown of Austin, TX.
Because we want to make sure Austin represents and shows up to support this incredible film, we will be giving away free t-shirts to select ticket purchasers. You’ll be able to choose from two officially licensed designs on a high quality white or black tee, created by yours truly in partnership with Trimuse Entertainment (and approved by the filmmaker, Matthew Currie Holmes).
To qualify, just email your purchase receipt to morbidlybeautiful666 at gmail.com.
You’re qualified to win a shirt even if the screening doesn’t take place. However, we’ll be giving away more shirts and posters if we sell enough tickets to bring the screening to Austin.
Click here to purchase your tickets for the Austin, TX screening now.
MORE ABOUT THE FILM
SYNOPSIS: Buckout Road might be known as the most haunted road in New York State, but nobody really believed it… until now. A college class project on modern mythology turns deadly when a trio of students and an on-leave soldier discovers a series of horrific urban legends surrounding Buckout Road may actually be true. The deeper they dig into the road’s dark history, the more dangerous their quest becomes. From witches burning at the stake, to backwoods albino killers to a modern, unstoppable stalker, writer/director and horror-film aficionado Matthew Currie Holmes leaves no genre unexploited in this loving throwback to late-80’s midnight movies.
During its festival run, THE CURSE OF BUCKOUT ROAD received numerous awards and accolades, including Best Feature Film at the Pasadena International Film Festival, Best Thriller Feature Film at the Hot Springs Horror Film Festival, and Best Feature Film and Best Screenplay at both Blood in The Snow Film Fest and Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival. THE CURSE OF BUCKOUT ROAD won the Audience Award at People’s Film Festival Harlem, and Richmond International Film Festival as well as the Special Jury Award at Brazil International Film Festival. Director/Writer Matthew Currie Holmes won Best Director at Commffest and World Music and Independent Film Festival.
THE CURSE OF BUCKOUT ROAD is written and directed by Matthew Currie Holmes, and stars Evan Ross (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay), Henry Czerny (Ready or Not, Mission: Impossible), Dominique Provost-Chalkley (Wynonna Earp, Avengers: Age Of Ultron), Colm Feore (The Prodigy, Thor), and Danny Glover (the Lethal Weapon series, Jumanji II: The Next Level).
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY recently published the exclusive first look at the official trailer, which you can check out below.