This movie was lent to me by a friend, and I have to tell you, I really wasn’t looking forward to seeing it. The picture on the front, combined with the description on the back had me thinking that this was going to be slow and cheesy. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
It’s Christmas, and the Harrington family is driving to spend the holiday with the in-laws, and bringing their daughter’s boyfriend along. Frank, the father, is driving, and while everyone has nodded off, has decided to take a “shortcut.” After twenty years of going on the highway, he’s become bored with it, and wants to take a more stimulating way so that he can stay awake for the rest of the drive. This turns out to be somewhat pointless, however, as he nods off and nearly drives into another car.
Awake and alert now, the weirdness begins. Frank pulls over to pick up a woman and her baby, and Marion, the daughter, gets out of the car to take a walk and clear her head while Frank drives towards a cabin he saw a short way back down the street to find the woman some help. The woman, however, seems to be in shock, and is unresponsive to attempts at conversation. She is left alone with Marion’s boyfriend.
From here on in, the movie is a spookfest, with a lot of humor intentionally thrown in to keep the viewer off-balance. The dialogue gets better and better as the movie progresses, and you begin to genuinely care about the characters, especially as they start to be brutally butchered. The timing is amazing, and silence is utilized well to maximize some of the creepier scenes. This is not a movie that is going to have you scared out of your mind, but rather one that will fill you with dread, make you crack up laughing, and then bring you right back to feeling creeped-out.
All in all, a great flick, and one that is entirely underrated. There are some standard horror movie devices, such as people wandering off alone only to be slaughtered, but it’s easy to look past the stereotypical things because of how highly the movie draws your attention in.
An additional note: for those fans of Something About Mary Lin Shaye, otherwise known as Magda, plays the mother in this family. Like you needed any more reason to see it.