Clinton Road – USA, 2018

‘No one ever comes back’

Clinton Road is a 2018 American supernatural horror feature film directed by Richard Grieco (actor in Art of the Dead; Minutes to Midnight; Raiders of the Damned; et al ) and Steve Stanulis (Hinsdale House), based on the latter’s storyline.

The screenplay was written by Noel Ashman and Derek Ross Mackay. The movie stars Ace Young, Erin O’Brien, and Bo Dietl. Eric Roberts, Ice-T and Vincent Pastore have cameo roles.

Plot:

The real-life Clinton Road is a ten-mile stretch of narrow road deep within the northern New Jersey woods, that has served as the source of urban legends about paranormal activities such as ghosts and witches‘ gatherings. Apparently, it is also an infamous disposal area for corpses after mob hits.

In the movie, the road is investigated by a gang of bold teenagers who become stranded, scrambling to defend themselves against other-wordly apparitions…

Review:

Clinton Road begins within the confines of a nightclub with stilted sequences featuring brief cameos by Eric Roberts, Ice-T and Vincent Pastore. Unfortunately, some of these scenes are plagued by muffled audio, an overloud soundtrack and the kind of bickering from the protagonists that immediately kills any audience empathy. Once we arrive at the titular leafy setting, there is a brief suggestion that, despite the continued squabbling characters engage in, we might get some respite and the spookiness will begin to kick in.

Alas, the continuing events onscreen seem like the movie equivalent of a haunted attraction with unlikeable participants wandering from one supposedly scary experience to another. Except none of the meandering around in the woods is in the least bit unsettling, let alone scary. Now and again, a creepy-looking kid appears but there is no connect, no focus and no pay-off. An enigmatic ranger (played by Carlos Leon) pops up, although his brief presence also adds nothing worthwhile either.

Camerawork is bafflingly unsteady, as if the $2,500,000 budget cited on IMDb didn’t run to buying a tripod. Or is it supposed to denote an evil presence? Who knows? And with the amount of engagement we have previously experienced, who cares? In the closing shot, Ace Young looks as confused as the audience.

Clinton Road is a shambolic and mildly irritating movie. It also seems a lot longer than the mere 77 minutes it runs.

Adrian J Smith, MOVIES & MANIA

Other reviews:

“Perhaps the most frustrating part is that, simmering beneath the surface, are the bones of a good concept that was ultimately wasted in nearly spectacular fashion. The budget is a reported 2.5 million dollars. I’m assuming it was spent on the cameos in the first 30 minutes. ” Stuart D. Monroe, Horror DNA

“It’s entertaining as f*ck and speaks to a simpler time in horror history, but the atmosphere is just so… fun […] Clinton Road is the perfect feature film for people looking for a night of mystery, adventure, and every subgenre of horror crammed into one epic walk into madness.” Michael Therkelsen, Horror Society

“It’s superficially overwrought with corny dialogue and over-ripe music that plays right into the now iconic formula of bad slasher movie clichés, which I am again hoping betting is the filmmaker’s intent. It has pretty girls […] dimwitted boys, a creepy child, lots of running and screaming among the trees, poor choices, a ghost house, and more… ” David Duprey, That Moment In

Clinton Road runs 73 minutes and takes until the 40-minute mark to start bringing out the scares. And then we get some creepy looking ghost kids. And some big bald guy who looks like he wandered over from a biker bar […] But it’s never really explained who or what they are and why they’re killing people […] It’s incredibly generic and feels like a cheap VHS rental…” Jim Morazzini, Voices from the Balcony

Release:

Clinton Road was picked up for distribution by Midnight Releasing for a ten-city theatrical and VOD release from June 14, 2019.

In June 2018, Grieco told Dread Central:

Clinton Road was an arduous task, trying to make sure we captured the horror of what really has happened on Clinton Road, through the days gone past and the relevant of now. Shooting on the road was insane. Generators went off, phones went dead, then all of a sudden they would work. Through all the craziness, we have a great film that is worth watching, because everything is real, which makes it that much more scary. I’m really excited for people to see the finished project.”

Main cast and characters:

  • Eric Roberts … Eric – Black Wake; The Demonic Dead; The Summoning; Sicilian Vampire; Camp Dread; Self Storage; et al
  • Ice-T … Rj – Bloodrunners; Leprechaun in the Hood 
  • Vincent Pastore … Club Owner – Black Wake; Torture Chamber; Black Roses
  • James DeBello … Begory
  • Fredro Starr … Fredro
  • Erin O’Brien … Gianna
  • Katelyn Pearce … Cindy
  • Carlos Leon … Ranger
  • Bo Dietl … Mayor
  • Ace Young … Michael
  • Steve Stanulis … John
  • Cody Calafiore … Tyler
  • Natalie Guercio … Candy
  • Diezel Ramos … Bar Patron
  • Lauren LaVera … Kayla
  • Sarah Pribis … Jessica
  • Katie Morrison … Isabella
  • Rino Aprea … Waiter
  • Sean Rogers … Kenny
  • Noel Ashman … Donnie Mccaffery
  • Dolores Catania … Dolores

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