Last week, Philippine horror movie The Road premiered in theaters in the United States. The stars of the GMA Films movie even attended a red carpet premiere in Hollywood to launch the movie.
(CLICK HERE to learn more about the screening in Los Angeles, California)
Directed by Yam Laranas, The Road tells the story of three teenagers who get lost in an abandoned road in the middle of the night. Flashbacks were then used to show why the horrors were born in the area.
The Road, written by Direk Yam and Aloy Adlawan, stars Rhian Ramos, Barbie Forteza, Alden Richards, Carmina Villarroel, and Marvin Agustin.
The Road premiered to mostly positive reviews in the Philippines last year. What was praised was its outstanding atmosphere, its efforts to move away from the horror genre's derivatives, and the exceptional cinematography.
However, it wasn't entirely free from criticism, as Filipino critics also commented on its clunky exposition, its unnecessary length, and the ending, which featured a seemingly forced twist.
The trend continues in Hollywood, as American top critics review The Road.
Reviews are mostly positive. The Road scored 71 out of 100 (generally favorable reviews) in Metacritic, a website that features movie reviews of critics.
The Road also carries an 83% approval rating from America's film critics, as shown in Rotten Tomatoes (as of May 12). Eight top critics reviewed the movie, and all of them gave The Road fresh ratings, or high scores.
Jeannette Catsoulis of the New York Times praised The Road for its atmosphere.
"A powerfully atmospheric blend of ghostly encounters, horrific situations and missing-persons mysteries," writes Catsoulis.
V.A. Musetto of the New York Post said The Road delivered wonders even with a small budget.
He comments, "The Road takes several horror genres and melds them into a creepy, stylishly photographed story that will keep horror buffs revved from start to finish."
Mark Halcomb of the Village Voice praises The Road's uniqueness.
"Call it a haircut of Psycho with ectoplasmic additives, The Road still has a whispering menace and visual grandeur all its own," says Halcomb.
But The Road is not immune to negative comments.
Rob Nelson of film magazine Variety praised the narrative but shot down its technical side.
Nelson points out, "This low-budget shocker eventually pays off, displaying just enough narrative ingenuity to compensate for a cinematically crude and logistically sketchy deployment of the requisite bloods-and-guts mayhem."
Robert Abele of the Los Angeles Times said The Road is scary, but the storytelling is not as polished.
"The Film's three-pronged narrative does a fair job of laying a spooky groundwork for the revelatory emotional sadism that lies behind most acts of evil; it just takes a bit of clunky exposition to get there," Abele writes.
Andrew O'Hehir of Salon.com, meanwhile, commented that The Road is "compelling", even though the narrative is not as smooth.
"If it's patchy and derivative it also has a compelling, soapy
undertow that kept me watching," he said.
Bill Goodykoontz of Arizona Republic said The Road is creepy, but believed the story "doesn't always quite hold."
Lastly, Stephen Whitty of Newark Star-Ledger thought The Road elevated the horror genre, even though it avoided the staples horror films are known for.
"This philosophical film helps elevate the film above the usual
scared-teenager shocker although, sometimes, the film ignores the bread-and-butter demands of the genre," he said.