The Darkness of the Road (2021)

The Darkness of the Road (2021) MOVIE DETAILS
Name: The Darkness of the Road
Year: 2021
Country: USA
Director: Eduardo Rodriguez
Main cast: Najarra Townsend, Leah Lauren, Gwyneth Glover
Runtime: 85 minutes
Production company: Treehouse Pictures


I think I must say about this that I was a lucky guy. Because there are tons of movies released every week on digital, sometimes some of them also get a physical DVD release that nobody hears about and gets lost into oblivion. And floating in that sea of mediocre entertainment available for our frenzy consume, every now and then there is a hidden jewel. I was lucky enough to find that jewel, and now I’m here to expose it to the beloved Ganiveta audience.

The Darkness of the Road (2021) is one of those films that could easily go unnoticed. The cover artwork is intriguing, yes, but if you read the plot you could think “bah, I’ve already seen this”. Because the start point might sound basic, a single mother driving on an empty road picks up a hitchhiker, then her little daughter goes missing, and weird things happen. Also, if you take a look at the filmography of the director Eduardo Rodriguez you’d think it’s full of average horror (Fright Night 2 (2013), You’re Not Alone (2020)) and action (El Gringo (2012), Stash House (2012)) flicks, so why should this one be different? Well, it is.

From the very first seconds, one can see that The Darkness of the Road (2021) aims to be different, pretends to step aside from mediocrity. Already in the first frames, the movie shows its trump cards with exquisite cinematography portraying colorful darkness that brings a seductive sense of mystery, an eery dark soundtrack that adds more tension to the experience, and a narrative style that tells the audience this is the kind of film you gotta be aware and attentive not missing any detail. And that remains through the whole running time.

Although the director Eduardo Rodriguez has spent most of his career making commission films, it is clear that as a writer he has a lot to say and that one of his best features is the personal style he imprints in his own stories, as it happened with his debt feature Curandero (2005). The script for The Darkness of the Road (2021) is a pure piece of horror art, full of tricky clues, heavy on the mystery, with a non-linear narrative that makes the understanding of the story a delicious challenge, and filled with truly scary horror moments.

And the director chose his best allies for this trip. The cast accomplishes their job perfectly, especially the lead Najarra Townsend, proving once again that Contracted (2013) and Dementia: Part II (2018) we no accidents, and every time she appears in a horror movie we must at least give it a try. In the technical aspects, the score by Luis Ascanio and the cinematography by John DeFazio wrap up the events happening in the film with a beautiful tension developing the frighting feeling, and the chosen landscape is the perfect setting for a tale of fear and madness. Because, yes, most of the events in The Darkness of the Road (2021), almost the entire movie, happen in a car stranded in the middle of the darkness of a road. Nothing around, no help to aid you, and the darkness never seems to have an end.

I have seen a lot of horror movies in my time, and it is clear that originality is something that the genre lacks, especially in mainstream films. It is not easy to find a surprising movie anymore. But The Darkness of the Road (2021) throws a little light into the panorama. A genuine scary film, where you have no idea where the plot will take you, with only two main characters holding most of the action, and set in the middle of an endless road, in the absolute nothing. Very minimal elements to build one of the most impressive films I have seen in a long time. A solid piece of fear and mystery, horror at its bests, with plenty of surprises and shocking moments.

Still dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, where besides Titane (2021) there is no other horror title that could outstand from a lousy rest, it has been a gift to end the year with the discovering of a jewel like The Darkness of the Road (2021).

RATE: 7/10