Title: Lost Gully Road

Also known as:

Year: 2017

Genre: Thriller / Horror

Language: English

Runtime: 80 min

Director: Donna McRae

Writer: Donna McRae & Michael Vale

IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6371924/

Lucy needs to get away from a dangerous person in her life, so she and her sister rent a cabin. Lucy just needs to wait a few days there on her own before he sister can get everything ready at home, for them to execute their plan. But something in the house has a plan of its own, and it's coming after Lucy.

Our thoughts:
A few years ago, Donna McRae came out with her feature debut "Johnny Ghost", a very personal tale that proved Donna's focus on telling stories about people, their problems and emotions. Her new film, "Lost Gully Road", co-written with Michael Vale, is perhaps a more traditional type of movie, but one that dives even further into human behavior. Except with a haunted house/supernatural twist!

In an attempt to get away from a person in her life, Lucy and her sister have a plan. They have rented a cabin where Lucy can stay for a couple of days until her sister has set up everything. Lucy is not allowed to make it known where she is, and thus has to have her smartphone off, and can only use the regular telephone in her house. Lucy soon finds herself bored and lonely, but she gets the feeling that she might not be alone in the house. A force in the house wants her, intimately.

The story is certainly not unlike the '80s movie "The Entity", and you'd struggle to find a review that won't make that comparison. But Donna most definitely made this her own this. It does not try to be a classic supernatural horror at all. One of the strengths here is that Donna has made a character-driven story that puts its lead in focus, and thus never feels like a full horror movie. The pieces are all there, but the most important thing is how those pieces are used. Donna shows here that she isn't as interested in effects or scares, as she is in making you feel emotions. This is a lonely movie, one where we feel like we are sitting in a house for days - right along with Lucy. Slowly the terrors in the house creep up on you, but this is where it makes some drastic changes. Lucy feels the presence in there, yet she embraces it at first. She plays along with its intimate games, as some innocent fun, until she realizes that she's letting herself be part of exactly the same thing she was escaping from.

I think that Donna McRae and Michael Vale have written a ghost story that fits right into our culture. It doesn't refrain from parallels with the perverse, voyeuristic, male dominated world that we all know is around us. It also plays with some expectations, which in return builds a more believable character. When things first start to happen in the house, Lucy doesn't really get scared. I might be overthinking it, but it's much like in an abusive relationship where you might not see the warning signs. Eventually you panic, because you find yourself in the middle of something that you could've stopped if you caught it early. Lucy is in an unstable state, and places herself in a strange place without any connection to the outside world, and finds solace in something bad.

That's not to say that Lucy as a character is weak. Adele Perovic does a wonderful job at portraying Lucy as a multifaceted character. She manages to show all of the confusion that's going on in her head, yet there's a strength that makes her long for what the new future might bring. In our short time with her she goes through it all; tough, weak, bored, sad, happy, lonely, content, seductive, dominating, dominated, scared, exciting. Adele Perovic's Lucy is a living and real character, in a dark and supernatural environment.

It might sound like I am complete gushing over Donna McRae's creation, and I guess I am. No, it is not the most original supernatural movie I have ever seen, nor the most unique independent film overall, but it just does almost everything well. The few flaws that I can see (some rough CGI stuff, a few repetitive moments here and there) are nothing that stands in the film's way. If modern supernatural horror was more like "Lost Gully Road" and less like "The Conjuring", then I would think more highly of the subgenre today. As it stands today, we mostly see rehashed roller-coaster rides, while "Lost Gully Road" is a soulful and intimate thriller that leaves an emotion in you. Though this is less original and auteuristic than Donna McRae's previous film, "Johnny Ghost", I think she proved she's here to stay with this one.

Positive things:
- Familiar ideas done in Donna McRae's own little ways.
- Interesting and fun character to follow (thanks to the script and actress Adele Perovic, of course).
- Trades jump-scares for a creepy, lingering atmosphere.
- A plot that is a lot more than a simple haunted house story.
Negative things:
- The movie is mostly in one location, with one actress, so there's some repetitive moments.
- Some small uses of CGI that were so-so.

Gore: 0/5
Nudity: 0.5/5
Story: 4/5
Effects: 2/5
Comedy: 1/5

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