Lovebirds Alex (Damian Joseph Quinn) and Bryan (Clayton Farris) are headed to the lake for a relaxing weekend. Newly single bestie Stephanie (Elizabeth Grullon) is along for the trip lazing about in the backseat and getting high. We haven’t even gotten to the bad part yet. In director David Del Rio’s (director) and Justin Xavier’s new horror-comedy ROAD HEAD, this is the tip of the iceberg as the trio arrives to find the lake dried up and two severed heads in its place. With a killer on the loose and a vacation gone awry, ROAD HEAD promises far more insanity than it is able to deliver. There’s a lot to appreciate, it’s just that none of the ingredients bubble up to the level of frothy horror comedy we hope for.
In an abandoned part of the California desert, Executioner (Adam Nemet) has severed two heads from their respective bodies and left them for other intruders to see. When Alex, Bryan, and Stephanie happen upon the detached cranium, the three puzzle over the murder, and more importantly, why the lake they came to relax at is dry. No sooner does Bryan attempt to photograph the heads than the Executioner arrives on scene again to sever, I mean serve justice. The mystery remains, why the heads, why the executioner, and why no lake? The three do their best to stay alive while trying to get their vehicle to start again in order to get out of there, but as horror film tropes dictate, things don’t go as planned. I won’t divulge further details. Suffice it to say, ROAD HEAD is nothing if not original. Funny or scary? Well…
The script from Xavier has a spectacular premise and one with potential. I think that the problem here is that the moments of revelation are padded by long stretches of repetition, punctuated by occasionally honest laughs that remind you of what the movie is going for. Del Rio and the entire crew have a true aim in what they are going for. They should also be commended for including members of the Queer Community as participants in the film instead of the punchline. No one, not even the crazed killer is after anyone because of what they look like or who they love. No, the Executioner just wants to kill and banish others from the land he protects.
Yes, there is a third act revelation that I shan’t spoil here, and absurd twists that only up the insanity. Yet something feels that the film really could have gone off the chain and instead held back. This isn’t because of budgetary restrictions or lack of talent. It’s there, they just don’t go far enough. Ironic that I am saying that about a film with a title as fun as ROAD HEAD, but there you are.
Credit where it is due, Quinn, Farris, and Grullon are great and have plenty of fun with their characters. Another standout is Misty Violet (Felicity Fellatio Bones) who, once on the scene, dominates and slays every moment of screentime she has. The rest of the cast seems to know this and gives her the space she requires.
ROAD HEAD is not a great film, yet it has moments that shine. Ignore the silly practical effects, disregard patches of repetition, and cling to the sincere moments of comedy and terror and you will survive this silly, surreal trip without so much as motion sickness.
5 out of 10
|Runtime:||1 hr 24 Mins.|