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Review: Expressway to Your Skull (2015)

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I was contacted in regards to reviewing Expressway to Your Skull in hopes of adding to the title’s traction as it heads towards worldwide distribution. Brain Damage Films will be releasing Expressway to Your Skull to DVD on November 3rd followed by a full VOD release on December 1, 2015. Well, the first wave of distribution will be upon us in less than two weeks, so there’s not a lot of time to waste! Here’s my review of Expressway to Your Skull!

Expressway to Your Skull is the feature length debut from writer/director Michael Okum. Cast members include Paul S. Tracey, Lindsay Atwood, Mark Aaron and Katie Royer.

Synopsis: “Thrill-seeking couple Ed and Amy, a couple in their 20’s, are desperately searching for a way to fix their boring and strapped existence. They fill up their backpacks with drugs, sleeping bags and half-cocked enthusiasm and hit the road in hopes of finding psychedelic enlightenment deep in the forests of New Jersey. Unfortunately, their three day trip is slowly interrupted by a friendly but deadly hermit who makes their peaceful vacation turn into a nightmare… one that they may not survive.”

Well, first and foremost I’d like to say that I don’t think Michael Okum knows how good he is as a film-maker. In our short correspondence, he appeared genuinely hopeful and humble… and I guess that’s better than saying, “My film is great, so you better review it.” The thing is… Expressway to Your Skull is a great film and he should have some level of confidence in himself and his product. Mike, Mike, Mike… You did fantastic, man! I was so impressed with your talents here that I’m definitely going to be on the lookout for more of your work in the future. Eh, I’ll just cap this off with what I really want to say. Expressway to Your Skull is one of the best horror films on the Brain Damage catalogue.

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Here’s why I think Expressway to Your Skull will stand out from the crowded “young couple goes into the woods” subgenre of horror. I think, for a reason I can’t seem to understand myself, the viewers are going to root for the killer more than the couple he targets for most of the film. There’s something very charming about him, a quality that a murderer would want to possess in order to trick unsuspecting victims. The actor, Mark Aaron, is also quite chiseled for a man of his age, so he’s deadly in all aspects – guns, knives, whit and strength. He also dabbles in black magic a little, but I don’t want to give too much away. That is, however, another reason why this title will stand out – the supernatural theme highlighted against the backdrop of a slasher-thriller. You really get a good cornucopia of genres here, ones that will make you feel a wide arrange of emotions as you watch the young couple go through Hell. Suspense, Thrill, Horror, Romance… Expressway to Your Skull has it all. I also can’t fail to mention that it has a higher bloody count than other titles in its category. Viva la gore!

Is Expressway to Your Skull 100% polished in terms of production? Pretty much! It had one error that had me scratching my head – the audio when the young couple are relaxing near a waterfall. Their voices are just too, too low! I think there was a problem during editing while trying to find a balance between dialogue and background noise. If that’s the only production error I can see, then you know this is a high quality production. From the opening shot to the closing scene, Expressway to Your Skull is awesome in regards to cinematography. Greg LeFevre did a great job there. Excellent lighting at night, too. Usually I can find a spot where I can say “I would have done this instead of this,” but all of the choices made behind the scenes worked and they worked well. Expressway to Your Skull is one of those titles where an independent film looks like a ton of gold. Well done.

Final Score: 7.5 out of 10

Written by Michael Therkelsen

(Senior Editor)