This Filipino flick shares the same name as a Viggo Mortenson movie, but it is not at all similar. The Road (which differentiates itself by reversing the “R’) is three stories in one, each a different kind of horror – supernatural, psycho and psychological. It begins in 2008 with three kids going for a joy ride on a road which has been closed off. A mysterious red car with no driver keeps following them, and passing them, although they never actually pass it.
It’s a gloriously creepy, grab your cushion and hug it defensively, opening. The early credits and the music set you up for this – something horrible is going to happen to these kids. That they are all so nice and fresh faced just makes it worse. This stretch of road has form – two young girls disappeared there in 1998.
That’s the second part of the story. Two pretty girls that you just fall in love with – and not because they are cloyingly cute but because, again, they are so fresh and natural – are driving the same stretch of road in 1998 and find themselves in a terrifying situation with a nutcase in a dilapidated house. This is psycho horror at its nastiest, and we were praying at least one of them would get away. The performances of the two girls in this sequence are heart rending.
Finally, in the third part that takes place in 1988, the story behind the first two parts is revealed – and no spoilers here, but it’s a shocker, and beautifully acted by young Renz Valerio, who takes us deep into the soul of a boy witnessing horrors that no child should see.
Enough – it is really easy to spoil this movie by talking about it. Director Yam Laranas deftly twists and turns his plot while keeping The Road itself dead straight. He is ably assisted by TJ Trinidad as a decorated cop, Luis; Rhian Ramos as Lara, one of the girls from the 1998 sequence; and Barbie Forteza as Ella, who absolutely shines in the 2008 sequence.
Laranas even manages to leave you feeling somewhat uplifted after all this horror, and that’s not easy to do. But is it possible that you can go back to a pivotal moment, and change it – let in light where there was only darkness?