By: Oberst Von Berauscht (Four Beers) -
Much has been said about the legendary “Munger Road” in St. Charles, Illinois. Some say that a little girl was murdered near the railroad tracks there, and her spirit haunts the surrounding forest preserve. Some say that a school bus full of children was hit by a train on the railroad tracks there, and that if you go out late at night and park on the tracks their ghosts will push you to safety. Some have lived in the area for their whole life and never heard any of this shit until somebody made a movie about it. (Such as the humble writer of this article) Embarrassed by my own lack of civic awareness I immediately turned to the internet to find out more about this legend, having long ago lost the ability to tell the difference between reality and cinema*.
*and yet my urge to kill is so… so real
Like most horror films, Munger Road focuses on a group of teenagers out for some fun on a spooky evening. Naturally they want to check out the legend they’ve heard so much about, so off they go on their merry way. They thought of everything, making sure to bring their cell phones, flashlights, a video camera, ghost detecting baby powder, and their completely unlikeable personalities. The fun is of course disturbed by a killer who may or may not be who he seems to may or may not be… or something. Meanwhile, the local Police Chief and his deputy search the town for an escaped serial killer who escaped the same evening (naturally).
In spite of all the obvious cliches Munger Road manages to be a fairly spooky and entertaining ghost story. Freshman filmmaker Nicolas Smith clearly knows how to eke tension out of quiet moments and wisely avoids showing too much, preserving the mystery and promoting fear. For the most part the actors deliver competent, even strong performances. Bonus points to the director for his strong use of area landmarks and real events to give the story more depth and believability.
Their cell phones die and their car wont start. So why can’t the four of them leave their car and go for help? And what makes them think they are any safer in the car with the door locked? Why after being told to run by their friend did they stay put, when the knew something was trying to get at them? And why am I asking you?
I want to make it known that I don’t hold what I’m about to say against the actors. They held their own quite admirably. However in Munger Road the teenagers are so annoying, stupid and mean that you start to root for the killer.
Please don’t take your writing advice from Eli Roth
Twist endings are a staple of horror, and when done right they are well thought out and creative. The one in Munger Road feels made for The Twilight Zone.
Which as my wall says, is not a bad thing
The reason that I’m adding a beer for this ending is more for the recent trend of unnecessary sequels in horror films. I loved the ambiguous nature of the ending, and don’t want to see it explained. Because any explanation that can be made would only weaken the original’s impact.
Entertaining, and sometimes even spooky, but ultimately slight.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: whenever somebody starts complaining
Take a Drink: anytime somebody separates from the group
Down a Shot: for every jump scare