Directed by: Robert Cuffley.
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 the necessary precautions to prevent the shooting, Marci is soon fired from her job. Now at rock bottom, Marci decides to drive to her sister’s home, but makes the ill fated decisions to start drinking while she drives. Disoriented from the night before, Marci eventually finds herself outside of a place called The Bright Hill Hotel.
In lieu of her condition, Marci decides to stay at the hotel for a few days before heading to her sister’s home. Though she uses this time to make a concerted effort to sober up, these plans are soon thwarted when the manager (played by Agam Darshi) leaves her a gift basket (that of course includes a bottle of red wine) which causes her to break down and have another drink. Soon enough, one drink turns into two drinks quickly, which quickly turns into three, and soon results in bottles of various types appearing around the room as Marci starts conversing with people who are not there.
Upon waking the next day, Marci slowly starts to get the sneaking suspicion that all is not right about this hotel - i.e. the bullet hole in the wall that the manager hasn’t fixed, the crying woman in the room next door. The final straw however, comes in the form of hearing her dead, abusive father's voice. A voice which she soon discovers that there is no reprieve from as she discovers that, try as she might, there is no escape from the hotel. In her effort to find a way out, 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. Unfortunately, this encounter comes to a head as its discovered that there is similarly something amiss about Owen as well.
Overall, this is not a bad movie, but it does have its problems. First off, the pacing feels uneven at times and many scenes that seem to want to be scary are too brightly lit in places. Lastly, without giving away its intended secrets, the story is unfortunately pretty predictable.
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.
Lastly, Williams as our lead is also excellent. Her portrayal of Marci as someone with an illness that has made her life difficult, rather than a moral failing is executed very effectively. Williams constructs a character seemingly wants to get help with her problems, but either doesn't know how to ask or is too ashamed to ask for it. She easily carries this movie even through its flaws. All in all, despite some of it’s shortcomings, Bright Hill Road is still a worthwhile movie to watch.
Overall grade: B-