CLINTON ROAD * USA 2019 Dir: Richard Grieco, Steve Stanulis. 76 mins
The good thing about CLINTON ROAD is that it stops us worrying about one-time 21 JUMP STREET heartthrob Richard Grieco: he’s alive and co-directing this film. That concludes the list of good things about CLINTON ROAD. Another “inspired by real events”, heavily padded horror film that struggles to find enough compelling material to fill a mercifully short running time, its title refers to “one of the most haunted places in the United States”. This is a ten mile stretch of New Jersey that’s home to an urban legend and eventually the setting for some screaming and falling over in the woods. Firefighter Ace Young’s wife (Sarah Pribis) went missing on that road a year ago, though he has moved swiftly on to a hot new model (Lauren La Vera), whose hair has more character and charisma than her performance. They initially hang out at Ice T’s N.Y.C. club so that the ageing Ice can share his own weird experiences on Clinton Road in what appears to be an improvised “performance” (“I had a fuckin’ experience! Like some time shift shit!”). Joined by James De Bello’s absurd one-eyed psychic, Young and pals ignore cliched warnings to “Stick to the road!” and end up walking in circles around the infamous spot, intermittently harassed by a hammer-wielding, bald, bearded guy in steam punk googles. Fans of long scenes in which horrible people shout each other’s names a lot in the woods get more than their fill here. Plus: for no extra cost: awkward cameos from friends-of-the-filmmakers like THE SOPRANOS’ Vincent Pastore, Bo Dietl as the Mayor and Eric Roberts (who at least looks happy) as himself (“It’s Eric Roberts!”)! And! Sex scenes so lifeless and unerotic you’ll be tempted to check out those hardcore necrophiliac sites instead!
Review by Steven West