It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel… slightly relaxed. It’s weird to say that a movie with a title such as Apocalypse Road relaxed me, but it did. The production teams at Circus Wheel Productions and Turtle Moon Films put a lot of effort into their location scoutings, which resulted in a beautiful post-apocalyptic movie that succeeded in looking vacant of human life. A lot of titles in this category have failed in this endeavor, so I’d like to congratulate the production team for actually understanding what a realistic depiction of the end of the world would look like. I mean, how did they even find and nab all of the abandoned locations and scenic countrysides on an independent budget? Absolutely astonishing. And what’s better is that Michael Ray Lewis served as cinematographer and editor, and his expertise put the final, polished touches on a movie that defies independent standards and brings a worthwhile thriller to audiences around the world.
Apocalypse Road is a new feature length film from writer/director Brett Bentman. Recently, Bentman had a horror flick come out called The Night Before, but I think Apocalypse Road will end up being his biggest claim to fame so far in his five year career. The movie follows two sisters who survived a cataclysmic event and are forced to navigate an unforgivingly bleak world as they head south for warmer climates. Eventually, they are preyed upon by a ruthless gang of killers who succeed in separating them and force them to participate in their twisted, new age version of law and order. Now, the sisters have to fight their way out of trouble if they hope to be reunited in a world where they were never meant to survive. Katie Kohler, Ashlyn McEvers, Lance De Los Santos, Nellie Sciutto, Billy Blair, Tony Senzamici and Todd Jenkins star in this incredible title scheduled for VOD release on December 5, 2017 via Wild Eye Releasing.
Normally I’d knock a movie like this for “not being horror enough,” but the beauty of Apocalypse Road is that it kicks off after the horror is over. And yet there’s still something particularly terrifying about surviving the end of the world and not knowing what your future, your day to day life is going to consist of. Add in the suspense and little bits of action and it’s a thirst quenching recipe. Picture The Last of Us or The Walking Dead without zombies. Still sounds pretty good, right? It roughly follows the same formula for success by including amazing acting, impeccable camera work, and clever story-telling into its overall package. It does have it’s slow points, and the level of action and violence wasn’t as high as I expected, but those are literally my only complaints. Apocalypse Road is a clear, clever, emotional look at two women’s journey of survival in a world left destroyed and inhabited by some pretty unsavory folks.
That sisterly bond is what I also want to champion. Apocalypse Road, and Brett Bentman, allowed for two young women to lead a story-line that’s never been geared at their gender. Mad Max follows Mel Gibson. The Day After Tomorrow follows Jake Gyllenhaal and Dennis Quaid. The Last of Us, while featuring co-star Ashley Johnson/Ellie, is almost entirely lead by Troy Baker/Joel. And The Walking Dead is centered around Andrew Lincoln/Rick and Norman Reedus/Daryl. Giving Apocalypse Road to Katie Kohler and Ashlyn McEvers was a cinematic gift within itself because these two very capable actresses gave the performance of a lifetime and demonstrated that female characters in these unfortunate circumstances can be just as skillful, intelligent, and animalistic as men. I’m so glad that women were able to embrace this role. Add in the fact that they played sisters in this film and you get the much needed emotional punch to keep you on the edge of your seat.
Produced by Carlos Aguilar and executively produced by Bill Nicholas, Apocalypse Road is a certified must-see independent hit with so many breathtaking elements working in its favor. Highly recommended! Final Score: 8 out of 10.