NECROPATH ** USA 2018 Dir: Joshua Reale. 94 mins
What happens to the insane when the world goes insane? Intriguing premise for a film when “normal” has changed. The idea is strong for one film, not three. This is what Director/Writer Joshua Reale has done with NECROPATH (2018).
Reale has decided to put three stories set in the same world, with some continuing characters in one film, made in 2018 and released in 2021. The picture is like a one note theme ride. In fact, that is Joshua Reale’s background as he is the creator of a haunted house style attraction called “Cayo Industrial Horror Realm,” with an immersive escape room called “Atrophy Escape Ward” which has been running successfully for many years.
NECROPATH (2018) is not without some merit: its color pallet, flashing editing and bleak plague world as it erupts in a city. In the midst of this, a mentally deranged maniac, Scag (Moe Isaac) feeds his addiction with murder, oblivious what is happening around him. Scag destroys things, shoots things, kills and mutters one word screams of dialogue throughout the film. The stories connect very loosely as people in the world cross paths.
The film begins promisingly with a number of well shot, albeit dark visuals, of two would be lovers out for a good time that get ambushed by the dead while enjoying an oral experience in a car. This was intended to set the world up as we shift to Scag, screaming, killing, muttering all in the name of his next high.
Returning to narrative we meet two of the most fleshed out roles of a family trying to get to a stadium for safety. Father of business (Nathan Faudree) delivers some of the film’s best character work as an egotistical, chauvinist business guy who actually surrenders his wife and child to the living dead.
The third story is the older child, simply called ‘Lost Girl’ (Lillian Colvin) battling a ‘crack Hag for her baby sister.’ The “hag” is admirably played by Natalie Colvin, who is visually the most repulsive inhabitant of the film. Her eyes, and babbling of the word “Baby” in a low voice while drooling and shuffling in this dark world fit the bill. Couple that with a “flood’ moment in her sleeping area, and you have created a visceral moment of horror.
NECROPATH (2018) also offers good practical effects, as budget allows. This includes solid use of frame, both foreground and background, although in one note, and dark bleakness with flashing lights.
The overall effect of NECROPATH (2018) is tedious reliance on visuals with the exception of the isolated two fleshed out roles. A film is not an escape room experience as you are not seeking physical escape, solving puzzles, or knocking walls to find your release. Watching a film, you can turn it off or put it on pause. This approach, no matter if it is deemed experimental, works if there are ties linking the work, such as used in the Amicus series of “Anthology” films in the eighties – like Tales from the Crypt.
NECROPATH (2018) is a concept overpowered by content, resulting in an interesting missed opportunity.
Review by Terry Sherwood