Toad Road (2012) – By Duane L. Martin

There’s a local legend about an old road through the woods called the Toad Road that says that as you walk along it, you’ll pass through the seven gates of Hell, which are as follows.

1st Gate: You feel like things are watching you.
2nd Gate: You start hearing things.
3rd Gate: You start seeing things.
4th Gate: People pass out.
5th Gate: Time starts to warp and change and you lose your grip on everything. No one’s made it past this gate, until this movie.
6th Gate: It begins to take over you. It moves up through your feet all through you and your veins boil. If you don’t sacrifice yourself, it’ll rip you apart. You have to leave your old self there on the ground next to you so you can finally reach the end.
7th Gate: You realize that you’re surrounded by absolute nothingness. There’s no time, no pain, just a great giant black void, and you’re floating there in the ultimate solitude.

James tells his girlfriend Sara about the legend, and suddenly she wants to drop acid and travel the road to find out if it’s true. So…that’s what they end up doing, only they both disappear for six months, and only James comes back from it, though he doesn’t have a clue what happened.

Ok, that’s enough. Let’s get to the review part, if you could call it that. See, this isn’t actually going to be much of a review, because despite my best efforts to always approach my reviews professionally, every so often a film comes along that is so utterly abhorrent that you can’t honestly find anything good to say about it. I’ve come across maybe three or four films like that in my eleven years of reviewing, and this one just got added to that list. Therefore, I’m about to unleash a steaming pile of hate on this thing that would make the Devil himself cringe.

The description says this film is supposed to be a metaphor for the decline people go through when they’re addicts. I guess that’s what the Toad Road itself is supposed to represent. So if that’s the case, how come the entire first two-thirds of the film is little more than people running around acting like drugged up idiots? Now when I say idiots, that’s to put it mildly. I think these people actually only have two brain cells to share around between the group.

If you don’t like seeing floppy, drugged up wieners in a film, then you’ll want to skip this one, because there’s more than one, and they make it a point to show them to you. Oh, and there’s some nekkid dude butt crack as well. Why? you may be asking yourself. What artistic purpose does it serve? Answer: None, unless you’re into the show Jackass. Why Jackass? Well, that would probably be because they start lighting butt hairs and pubes on fire with a lighter, and it’s not fake – they’re actually doing it. Just like they actually put a lit cigarette on James’ nipple, and just like he actually put himself outside in a group of people at the end of the movie and let people actually try to knock him out. He was taking actual, full on hits from people. Yeah, that’s what this movie is like. It’s like getting hit in the head repeatedly for 76 minutes.

The film sounds like it’s completely improvised, which I guess was to add to the "realness" of it. Honestly, the only purpose it served was to make you hate everyone in it that much more, because if you were actually around people that utterly stupid, you’d probably just grab the nearest hammer and kill them all yourself.

Oh, and did I mention that this is supposed to be a horror movie? I guess it’s supposed to be, because L.A. Weekly said that it’s the first unique horror film to come along in years, and there are even more quotes on the back extolling the virtues of this film. It even won three awards at film festivals! Here’s how I feel about all that. It’s like the Captain Picard facepalm meme and the "I don’t want to live on this planet anymore" meme combined with a big bucket full of SMFH and STFU. Yeah, that’s exactly what it’s like. I can’t for the life of me imagine how anyone could find anything even the slightest bit interesting or redeeming about this film. I don’t care if it’s a metaphor or not. What it really is is 76 minutes of wasted life. The only horror here is having to sit through it, because there’s really nothing here that would ever make me consider this an actual horror movie. Mostly it’s just a group of drugged up idiots doing stupid things.

So, Duane…how come you hate it when so many people seem to think it’s the next great piece of awesomeness?

Oh I dunno. Maybe it’s because I can’t relate to drugged up idiots. That’s probably the core of it. I also don’t like sitting through pointless movies full of said idiots.

Is there anything at all redeeming about this film? No. I don’t even need to elaborate on that. Just…no.

Again, I’ve literally had maybe two or three other films in my eleven years of reviewing that brought this much hate out of me. I always try to keep my reviews professional, but when you have a reaction to a film like I had to this one, sometimes you have to set professionalism aside and get personal. It’s rare, and I hate having to do it, but I think after eleven years as a reviewer, and all the utter crap I’ve suffered through while staying professional about it, I’ve earned the right to get personal once in a great while.

Fore special features, the new release from Artsploitation Films includes audio commentary with Jason Banker, James Davidson, Jamie Siebold, Scott Rader and Jorge Torres-Torres, deleted scenes, a behind the scenes featurette, a James Davidson & Sara Ann Jones audition video, a DUI Story, Shotgun a Beer clip, an 8-page collectible booklet, trailers and a reversible cover.

As a final note, the actress who played Sarah in this film, Sara Anne Jones, died of an accidental overdose in 2012.

If you’d like to find out more about this film, you can check out its page on the Artsploitation Films website here, and if you’d like to pick up a copy for yourself, you can get the DVD from Amazon, or from any of the other usual outlets.