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Clinton Road (2019) - Movie Review

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Clinton Road (2019)

Just because there is a lot of screaming in these woods doesn’t mean that what’s happening is all that terrifying. It just could be screams of disgust from the actors.  WHY?!  WHY?! WHY AM I IN THIS FILM, JESSICA!?  Why indeed. Blame it on the tequila, son, because even the creepy looking little girl clutching her doll isn’t frightening enough to stop to road side love birds in Clinton Road

"The problem here isn’t so much the acting as it is that the story just doesn’t really do much of anything"

Directed by Steve Stanulis and Richard Grieco, this horror film more than likely exists for its ROAR product placement and its bit parts from established actors like Ice-T (New Jack City, Law & Order : SVU), James DeBello (Cabin Fever, Detroit Rock City), Vincent Pastore (The Sopranos, Goodfellas), and Erin O'Brien (Pernicious, Killing Joan), and its funny Eric Roberts cameo.

The REAL road in New Jersey which inspired the movie might actually be the creepiest highway in America, but damn this movie misses the mark.  Completely.  Screenwriter Derek Ross Mackay takes a very interesting stretch of road in New Jersey and manages to suck out the mystery in that ribbon of blacktop that is about 50 miles northwest of NYC with a story that sees a firefighter desperately trying to make contact with his missing wife. He believes the road is responsible. And it just might be, but he’s picked the wrong group to wander its demented dangers with.

Amidst all the ramshackle houses and trees all sorts of mysterious things seem to be lurking on Clinton Road. There are a lot of hidden things to see here. The Jersey Devil is just one creature.  There are ghost hitchhikers and ghost children and, if you listen very closely, you might just hear the gnashing of teeth.  But in this movie, you will see little children with heavy black make-up around their eyes. They are pale in the moonlight, but they do little to cause the hair on the back of your neck stand . . . which is something this 10 miles of road is most certainly bound to do. 

The problem here isn’t so much the acting as it is that the story just doesn’t really do much of anything except go every which way in search of a missing woman and announce itself at every possible minute with a bunch of inane proclamations when people get hurt.

Starring Ace Young (Bones), Katie Morrison (The Blacklist), and Bo Dietl (Vinyl), Clinton Road has a group of friends all rallying around Michael, the grieving firefighter, as he makes his way to where he believes his missing wife could be found.  He “breaks bread” with a medium who might be able to connect him with his wife. Or something like that. But then things go dark and then weird and then suddenly, hell, we just don’t care too terribly much. 

All you need to know is that people get naked, have sex, and are chased away by something supernatural that is or isn’t actually there on the road with them.  We have a possession of sorts and a whole lot of injuries that leave people hobbling throughout the night of terror screaming about how much pain they are in. Clinton Road (2019)

Nothing here is truly as terrifying as actually traveling down the stretch of road.  We are left with ambiguities and weird images that don’t really terrify and then ending is a bit of a head scratcher, too.  There is barely any humor in the film and Ice-T, who saves the film from being a total loss, has the best moment in the film as he explains why the road is so frightening; he loves frightening white boys. Too bad he couldn’t have been in the film a bit more.  Hell, even the Eric Roberts cameo is solid.

Clinton Road might have won some wins this year at film festivals, but the film – soon to be in a 10-city theatrical run that begins June 14 thanks to Midnight Releasing – just left me wanting another ride. It will be on VOD soon, but I wouldn’t hitchhike very far to see this one.

Skip it.

3/5 beers

Clinton Road (2019)


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Clinton Road (2019)

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
77 mins
: Richard Grieco, Steve Stanulis
Derek Ross Mackay
Eric Roberts, Ice-T, Vincent Pastore
: Horror
No one ever comes back.
Memorable Movie Quote:
Midnight Releasing
Official Site:
Release Date:
October 23, 1987
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
June 14, 2019
Synopsis: A widowed fire fighter seeks closure after his wife goes missing on an actual haunted road in rural New Jersey but must unlock the roads secret if he wants to get out alive

Clinton Road (2019)

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