If you see just one horror film this year… well who am I kidding, if you’re seeing just one shocker this year it’s going to be the novel to popcorn munching adaptation of Stephen King’s It. However if you are the anxiously erudite type of genre fan who regularly demands fresh original content to chew on, Buckout Road is a film you’ll want to see.
From director Matthew Currie Holmes, Buckout Road is the clever yarn of a terrible series of urban myths connected by a two lane forest passage. Throw in a sympathy evoking performance from Dominique Provost-Chalkley and your humble columnist was instantly invested. This film and its meticulously selected talent will surprise even the jaded thriller crowd.
CCH: Was it intimidating going in with names like Danny Glover and Evan Ross (ATL, The Hunger Games) on the call sheet?
Currie Holmes: Nah. Evan Ross was my male lead and so we had formed a great partnership early on. With a seasoned pro like Danny Glover it’s easy; you just make sure the camera is in focus and watch the magic. He’s been doing this for so long, there’s nothing new I’m going to show him. That said, when adjustments were asked of him, he made them without incident. He never phoned anything in, he works really hard and is definitely not too old for this… acting thing.
To be perfectly honest it was Colm Feore (Thor, House Of Cards) that I initially felt intimidated by. I remember seeing him play Richard The III at Stratford Shakespeare Festival when I was 14. His performance was transformative. Richard was the reason I became an actor! Lucky for me, Colm is not only supremely talented and obsessively prepared but he is also one of the nicest people I have ever met.
When we finished shooting he called me to say that he told his agent: “The next time MCH calls, tell him I would love to be his John Carradine.” His agent replied: “I don’t know what that means.” And Colm said: “MCH will.” As long as there’s a part that suits him, Colm Feore is at the very TOP of my casting list.
Buckout Road has that anthology feel, without being an anthology. A handful of diverse and stylized nightmare sequences strategically placed throughout the run time help to keep the viewer on edge. These graphic images are perfectly balanced with a levity from, amongst other things, a pair of hilarious fraternal twin brothers (Kyle Mac and Jim Watson.) Easing off the terror can be a difficult rhythm to capture but Currie Holmes has it down pat. Knowing just when to give the audience a little relief, and more importantly, when to take it away is indeed a difficult feat. Watch as Buckout Road confidently dances on this tightrope, dispelling any preconceived notions that typically befall modern paranormal faire.
CCH: How did you come across the real life Buckout Road and its sordid history?
Currie Holmes: Buckout Road is a real road in Westchester NY. It is home to over a dozen urban legends. Initially I was hired to rewrite the script. The original screenplay used a few of these urban legends as backdrops and allegory. Once I did some research I found out that this one stretch of land housed some pretty amazing facts and stories. I suggested to my producers (Brad Clark and John Gillespie) that these urban legends shouldn’t be backdrop they should be the antagonists!
I pitched them a page-one rewrite and they said ‘yes’, The cool thing about Buckout Road (the place) is the history. This road has seen a lot of shit from: it being a major artery for the underground railroad to the Legend of Sleepy Hollow and being a home to the notorious serial killer Albert Fish (who Hannibal Lecter was based upon) AND John Barrymore (they lived in the SAME house… at separate times of course). The road was filled with rich history, both fact and fiction it begged the question: “what kind of place has this much evil in it?” That to me was what was exciting about the story and the road itself. And that’s what I wanted to concentrate on.
As the film progresses the audience is exposed to motives behind each main character’s behavior. Creating a bond between the viewer and the actor that is essential. It’s not enough to create a terrifying situation, the power comes from caring about the people in said situation. Buckout Road manages this task with ease. Coming across as a polished, professional work.
CCH: Your style is something I don’t typically see in indie films. There is a real, “studio feel.” Was it difficult to achieve this on an independent budget?
Currie Holmes: Thank you for saying that. I wanted something that stretched beyond what we had as far as budget and time. We had very little money but I made sure that what we did have was as polished as it could be and that it looked its best. Credit to my cinematographer, Rudolph ‘Rudi’ Blahacek. He’s a freaking light wizard. He translated everything I wanted visually and I think he did an amazing job. Even though we were hamstringed by budget and time I would say to Rudi during EVERY SCENE: “what does the absolute BEST version of this scene look like?”
There are brilliant movies I hold in such high esteem that I used as references and my only thought was “I want Buckout Road to look THAT good.” I look to filmmakers like Park Chan-wook, Walter Hill and Sam Raimi. Filmmakers who have influenced me and who have set the bar so high… The least I can do is aspire to those heights. Anything less, effort wise, just isn’t an option for me.
Buckout Road will leave even the strictly slasher crowd satisfied. Infact, within this film you will find something for every sect of genre fans. Gore, ghostly imagery, character development, and noteworthy performances collide in a picture absolutely worthy of a theatrical run. In closing, if you find yourself traveling through White Plains New York, you’ll want to make sure the route doesn’t include a detour down Buckout Road.
CCH: Thank you for giving us a look at your new film and for taking the time to answer our questions. Where can our readers keep up with the latest news and potential release dates?
Currie Holmes: Thanks for doing this and I’m really glad you dug the movie. Currently we are on the festival circuit with new screenings popping up all the time all across the country. The best way to find a screening or to get information is to follow Buckout Road on Facebook page and Twitter. Both are: @BuckoutRoad