by Bob Freville
Matthew Montgomery’s indie thriller Devil’s Path is a masterfully tense thriller whose seemingly simple premise—two male strangers meet up at a nature trail that’s the site of discreet gay hookups and end up being pursued by homophobes—quickly becomes something far more complicated and equally disturbing.
On the face of it, the film’s vulnerable nature-loving loner appears to be a hopeless romantic with a yen for solitude and a paradoxical yearning to find true love. By contrast, his reluctant companion is increasingly cynical and hostile. But the story’s many subtle twists and turns send a clear message: Don’t judge people by their outward appearances or their sexual proclivities.
As the picture plays out with some incredible cinematography and subtle musical composition, both of which bely Devil’s Path‘s low budget, we learn that this isn’t your typical man hunting man horror movie. Instead it is a smart psychological mystery that explores everything from child abuse and incest to the duel dangers of absolutism and so-called healthy skepticism.
Imagine if Kelly Reichardt (Old Joy, Night Moves) was tapped to direct a murder mystery written by Gregg Araki (Mysterious Skin, Now Apocalypse) and you get a hazy idea of what’s in store for you with Devil’s Path.
To say too much more about the plot would be to spoil what is, in essence, the anti-Hollywood thriller, a film that doesn’t need a large ensemble, fancy sets or high-priced special effects to produce enthralling, shocking and highly watchable results.
This one would make for a good double bill with either Deliverence or Sound of my Voice. A grade-A nail biter that will keep you guessing, not just about where the story will end up but why there aren’t more flicks of its caliber.
Rent or buy it today from Breaking Glass Pictures.