Munger Road Movie Review
Written by Karin Crighton
DVD released by Freestyle Digital Media
Written and directed by Nicholas Smith
2011, 90 minutes, Rated PG-13
DVD released on September 11th, 2012
Bruce Davison as Police Chief Kirkhoven
Randall Batinkoff as Deputy Hendricks
Brooke Peoples as Joe Risk
Trevor Morgan as Cory LeFayve
If you can make it through the awkward four opening minutes of Munger Road, this is a pretty fun ride.
The premise is basic enough: it’s Halloween and there’s a serial killer loose in sleepy town. Four wild and crazy teens, played by actors that look too old to be 17, are out for a night of pranking and get themselves into some trouble. Familiar? Yes. Predictable? Yes. But with meticulous directing and editing, the pace never drags.
The story is divided into two parts: the teens who get stranded in the middle of nowhere and the police officers looking for the escaped convicted murderer who might be returning to town to finish what he started years ago. C’mon, I said it was predictable.
The teen storyline is suspenseful in its architecture, but once Trevor Morgan’s Cory LeFayve is missing, the weaker acting of the supporting cast can be grating. Brooke Peoples has a few rare moments as Joe Risk, but overall her clumsy handling of her lines and flimsy construct of a personality for Joe gets tiresome.
Hallock Beals is much more watchable as Scott Clausen; he grows more comfortable in the role as time goes on. I’d like to have seen Lauren Storm given something more to work with as Rachel Donahue. They both are given one note to play when I think they both could have done more with Scott and Rachel.
The shining beacon of the film is the cop storyline. It is predictable, it is thrillingly suspenseful. In the role of a simple, small-town police chief, Bruce Davison masterfully keeps his cards at his chest. There’s a quiet dedication that keeps your attention captive while you wonder if there’s something he isn’t telling you. Randall Batinkoff is playfully engaging as Deputy Hendricks. He can be a little inconsistent in his character choices but his banter with Chief Kirkhoven keeps you rooting for them to come out on top.
Munger Road keeps its special events to a bare minimum, relying on the fear of the unknown to keep the watcher in the dark. And it works. Writer/director Nicholas Smith clearly knows what he wants from this movie and gets it. The weaker members of the cast are really the only downfall of an otherwise exciting movie that grips you tight until the surprise ending.
Having a sudden surprise ending can be a little annoying, but honestly I didn’t care what happened or didn’t happen to any character outside out of Kirkhoven, so it’s hard to say the surprise had any real impact on me. If I read a fan’s blog post speculating what could plausibly happen to Kirkhoven and not have to watch Peoples struggle through a continuation of this story, I could live with that.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a screener.