BITS 2017: Our Review Of ‘Buckout Road’

Posted in BITS 2017, Festival Coverage, Movies by - November 22, 2017
BITS 2017: Our Review Of ‘Buckout Road’

BITS pairs Buckout Road with Scraps, yet another short film about how bad things happen in Toronto. A man offers to have drinks with a woman, Jessica. They walk to his place but they don’t end up there.

Cleo Harris (Dominique Provost-Chalkley) is a student of general humanities. Her professor, Stephanie Hancock (Mayko Nugyen) is a sleepwalker. Her condition somehow makes her kill herself in the titular Buckout Road. It’s a place with a haunted history that both women were trying to demystify. Investigating Stephanie’s death is Cleo’s detective father (Henry Czerny) and the town psychiatrist Dr. Powell (Danny Glover). Powell diagnoses her with schizophrenia.

Powell’s grandson, Aaron (Evan Ross), returns into town and he finds himself mixed up in this supernatural crime. The film shows Aaron, Cleo, and the latter’s classmates having nightmares. One nightmare takes place in the 1970s, and for that sequence the filmmakers take away its usual digital sheen. Instead we get a 35mm look that sadly looks more like an Instagram filter.

Aaron also dreams of Stephanie, with blood coming out of her mouth. This would be scary in any other movie but there’s something too clean in the way this film approaches horror. And of course, religion figures its way into the proceedings with the reveal that Dr. Powell used to be a priest. The film uses iconography as a failed attempt to add gravitas to the story.

Performances are inconsistent here. But there isn’t much that the younger contingent of the cast can do. The script dedicates portions of itself telling the characters to get out of each other’s houses. Aside from Nguyen, the other actors who show up on the dream sequence overdo their parts. Their roles are mostly about the road’s sordid history of sexism and racism that the film mishandles.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you’re working.