Allegedly Buckout Road, in Westchester New York is the most haunted place in America. While there may or may not be some truth to that in the real world, The Curse of Buckout Road is a film that hoped to live up to that lofty legend, but sadly doesn’t quite make the grade.
The Curse of Buckout Road follows a seemingly cursed strip of road, as after a spate of suicides happen, psychologist Dr Powell investigates some spooky goings on, while simultaneously his grandson, Aaron returns from the military. People are committing suicide after seemingly having a series of night mares, and ending up sleepwalking to the cursed patch of road. After tragedy strikes, Aaron is forced to team up with Cleo and a pair of local twins who were also affected in order to solve the mystery of Buckout Road and prevent any more “suicides”.
The intention in writing that summary was not to trivialise a movie that, in itself, is not borne out of a terrible idea. There are plenty of examples of real-world spooky goings on that have formed the basis for scary films. However, it feels like the people making the film got a bit over-excited and decided that they needed to jam in every horror movie concept in the playbook into this. Witches, ghosts, and albino killers it is all here. There’s even a nod to the old Grindhouse-style films of the 1970s. It’s really detrimental to the film, which would be far more enjoyable had a less-is-more approach been adopted. Aesthetically, it’s like a love letter to the genre, but the kind of love letter that is written by a boyfriend hung up on his ex-girlfriend and throwing everything against the wall to try and prove his love. It’s misguided and it is too much.
In terms of the acting performances, it’s not all bad. Glover brings a certain level of gravitas and star power to a role that is largely there for plot exposition and unfortunately is over all too quickly. It almost feels like a waste of Glover’s talent, but without his setting up the narrative everything that follows would fall apart sharpishly, and he does well with the material he’s been given, as usual. Evan Ross does a reasonable job as Aaron, while Dominique Provost-Chalkley (who you might recognise from the underrated Wyonna Earp) adds a bit of personality to proceedings as Cleo, but both are fighting against the tide here. The characters are barely fleshed out, and it’s hard to really get behind them as a result. It doesn’t help that the pacing and structure is a bit all over the place, with too many twists creating diminishing returns as the movie goes on. The “big” twist in the final act is borderline ridiculous and I’m not even sure it fully makes sense.
The Curse of Buckout Road is sadly a very disappointing affair, it could, and arguably should have been something far more enjoyable but it fails to set a course and stick to it almost attempting to do too much. The filmmakers had lots of good ideas that, in isolation could have worked very well, but there’s way too much crammed into the relatively short running time for anything to truly hit home and the execution of the horror elements is pretty poor. If you fancy a schlocky, silly horror film then this is not the worst thing you could watch, but there are probably far better options to exhaust first.