Title: Expressway to Your Skull

Also known as:

Year: 2014

Genre: Independent / Horror / Thriller

Language: English

Runtime: 84 min

Director: Michael Okum

Writer: Michael Okum

IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3103308/

Packed with a tent and drugs, a young go on a camping trip because they need to get away and experience something new. In the woods, they meet the local hunter Charlie - and they're about to learn that what Charlie hunts best is man. Charlie is looking for the perfect woman for his ritual.

Our thoughts:
In no way do I say this to be mean to the filmmakers - but I actually watched this movie around the time that it was sent to me (it was a while back now), but I could not review it. I didn't find the words. Time went and I slowly forgot about the movie altogether, with just vague scenes in my head. I decided to rewatch it now after some months have passed, and I think it is time for me to put my opinion out there. I certainly don't hate "Expressway to Your Skull", but it fails to give a unique experience. Despite some small drug-fueled tripping shots, the movie is not much beyond your average "cult weirdo in the woods" movie (which doesn't differ much from backwood slashers, I suppose). I couldn't originally write a review because I don't enjoy repeating myself, and I had the feeling that I had seen and reviewed movies like it before. Whether this review will say anything new I don't know, because I am still trapped inside my own head when writing reviews, so any and all reviews have the same voices and words in my head anyway. With that said, here is my honest review of "Expressway to Your Skull", a movie which I selfishly didn't review earlier because I didn't find a way to express myself (and then forgot the movie). What a professional I am, eh?

In an attempt to spice up their lives, Ed and Amy decide to take a 3-day trip to the woods. The plan is to camp and do a bunch of drugs, and hopefully experience something special. Unfortunately, the drugs just don't seem to do much. They get some weird dreams, but that's about it. One night by the campfire they're visited by a local man, Charlie, who sits down for a talk. What the couple don't know is that Charlie rapes, kidnaps and tortures women, while looking for his perfect mate. But both Ed and Amy end up being part of his sadistic ritual eventually, but will they survive?

For a movie that pushes its psychedelic and drug-heavy style, it is surprisingly lacking of it. Yes, there are drugs and some additional use of colors and filters than your typical movie, but when someone says psychedelic to me, I expect more than a few scenes of stoned people and an odd dream here or there. It makes me think Jodorowsky, Chytilová, Kenneth Anger, or even "Suspiria", which all incorporate some very experimental narratives and expressive visuals. "Expressway to Your Skull" is in my opinion no more psychedelic than a slasher movie where characters happen to be stoned. Is that a huge negative to the movie? Absolutely not, but your expectations of a movie will absolutely alter your final opinion of it, and what I saw here is very far away from what I expected.

The movie is made with a small budget and it looks and feels way better than your average B-horror. Simply put, the movie looks good. It's well shot and you rarely get the feeling that you're watching anything of low quality, which is more than I can say about many movies that come out way. The same goes for the acting, which Mark Aaron makes up for if it ever gets bed. The leads, Paul S. Tracey and Lindsay Atwood are definitely competent, but Mark Aaron has an aura that just describes everything about his character in seconds: he's a deceiving and evil bastard and we know it.

Unfortunately the movie has a pacing that could only be described as uneven. Whenever you think that it will get moving, it cuts back to the couple in the woods smoking pot and generally seeming forced to do whatever activity they are doing. It goes back to Charlie doing some ritualistic shit in his cabin with a woman, and then goes back again. Even during the movie's climax, not much happens. The movie had me more curious and excited about where it would go in its initial 10 minutes, than any time in its following 74 minutes. Again, is it that horrible? I'd say that the average movie we get for review is worse, but at the same time there is nothing I dislike as much as a mediocre movie, because they are way harder to review.

I am sorry that it took me this long to review "Expressway to Your Skull", but I can't apologise for my opinion on it. It is what it is, just like any opinion. I was rather underwhelmed with the experience that the movie gave me, and it took me two viewings of the movie to even be able to sum that up. That said, the filmmakers will absolutely just get better from here, because the movie is well crafted for its budget and obviously has talented people behind it. Sometimes that's not enough for the movie to be great, but it's a strong ground for future projects.

Positive things:
- Mark Aaron's performance.
- An indie movie that looks and sounds good is always a plus.

Negative things:
- Doesn't really use its psychedelic inspiration well enough for it to be a good way to market the movie.
- Rarely feels like a fresh and unique movie.

Gore: 2/5
Nudity: 0/5
Story: 2/5
Effects: 3/5
Comedy: 0/5

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