Josh's Review of Bright Hill Road
Bright Hill Road is the latest horror/ thriller from Turning Paige director Robert Cuffley. Siobhan Williams stars as Marci, a recent survivor of a workplace office shooting. When it’s discovered that her alcoholism prevented her from taking precautions to prevent the shooting, Marci is fired from her job. Almost at rock bottom, Marci decides to drive to her sister’s home, but starts drinking while she drives. The next morning, Marci wakes up outside a place called The Bright Hill Hotel.
Marci decides to stay at the hotel for a few days before heading onto her sister’s home. Marci wants to try to get sober, but when the manager, played by Agam Darshi, leaves her a gift basket that includes a bottle of red wine, Marci breaks down and decides to have one drink. One drink quickly turns into another and suddenly there are bottles of various types appearing around the room as Marci holds conversations with people who are not there.
The next day, Marci wakes up and begins to realize that something is not right about the hotel. There are the odd things like the bullet hole in the wall that the manager hasn’t fixed or the crying woman n the room next door. But then Marci starts to hear the voice of her dead, abusive father and discovers, that try as she might, she can’t leave the hotel.
Marci eventually makes an ally out of Owen, played by Michael Eklund, the only other occupant at the hotel who also can’t leave the hotel. But Marci soon discovers that there is something very wrong with Owen.
Overall, this is not a bad movie, but it does have problems. The pacing feels uneven and many scenes that appear to want to be scary are too brightly lit in places. Plus, the story is predictable, but I won’t give anything else away here.
That said, there is a lot to be said for Bright Hill Road. There is a bizarre dreaminess to the film’s cinematographic style that lends itself very well to the story. It also feels in places like Cuffley is paying homage to movies like Hitchcock’s Psycho and the Cohen Brother’s Blood Simple. It’s almost like Cuffley is trying to create the Cohen’s early more basic scene-shooting style with Hitchcock’s more surreal story telling methods. This actually works in places.
Williams is also excellent. She portrays Marci has someone with an illness that has made her life difficult, not a moral failing. Williams makes it obvious that Marci wants to get help with her problems, but she either doesn’t know how to ask or is too ashamed to ask for it. She easily carries this movie even through its flaws. Despite it’s shortcomings, Bright Hill Road is still a worthwhile movie to watch.
Overall grade: B-