By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
"Red River Road"
is a nifty little thriller that I almost overlooked, but I'm glad I didn't. It's rather odd watching a movie about a family having to isolate indoors during a global pandemic, particularly since we have recently come out of COVID-19 lockdowns.
Yet, "Red River Road," was made at the height of the pandemic. It centers on the Schuyler family, a real-life family that serves as the entire cast and crew of the film. Paul Schuyler ("Give or Take") directed, wrote, and co-produced the movie with his wife Jade ("Cowboy Drifter"). Paul is the cinematographer too. It's a family affair.
In the film, Stephen (Paul) and Anna Witten (Jade) are doing their best to keep their teen sons Sean (Shaw Schuyler, "The Jethroverse") and Wyatt (Quinn Schuyler, "The Jethroverse") safe and healthy in their big comfortable house. There is a pandemic that somehow spreads through the internet. It causes a person to lose their ability to perceive reality and it often results with them experiencing violent outbursts.
They have an extensive movie collection and spend much of their time, watching movies, reading, and eating. Their food and entertainment are delivered in specialized crates. At least we could go the grocery store.
The family must also answer an annoying ringing phone to report their name and special identification number. Leaving home isn't an option because the government has put implants in them to keep an eye on what they say and do. Any attempt to escape from their home has major consequences like headaches and severe sickness.
Everyone has a breaking point and soon odd things begin to happen to the family. Anna has a bizarre dream about chasing Stephen through the woods and their dog Brody, suddenly disappears. If they had been paying attention to Brody, they probably could have seen some signs that things were going to go off the rails. Dogs can sense trouble and Brody's body language gave plenty warning that something was lurking on the horizon.
"Red River Road" turns into a dark and ghostly film as the Whitten's paranoia takes over and consumes them. Are they experiencing bad dreams? Has someone broken the lockdown rules and now must pay the price?
For a low budget film, "Red River Road" is a pleasant surprise, and the bare bones cast delivers on the suspense and intrigue which keeps you on edge. It's a creative bit of filmmaking and proof that good things do indeed come in small packages.
"Red River Road" is currently streaming on digital platforms.
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Look At This Trailer For "RED RIVER ROAD"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), The American Film Institute (AFI), and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.