SUNSET ON THE RIVER STYX (2020) Review and overview

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‘Death is just a matter of perception’

Sunset on the River Styx is a 2020 American horror feature film about a disenchanted bus driver who is drawn into a death cult by a strange woman.

Written and directed by Aaron Pagniano (short: We Got a Monkey’s Paw) and produced by Travis Campbell, Joseph Papa and Jesse Zhu, the Formidable Films production stars Phillip Andre Botello, Jacqueline Jandrell, Cory Vaughn and Avery Pohl.


In a swampy Florida city, a metro bus driver named Will lives a repetitive and purposeless life. His routines are interrupted by Ashe, whose bleak existential rhetoric engages him and introduces him to a strange world of the undead.

Will follows Ashe into a death cult, led by a charismatic vampire. However, he panics, disrupting a ritual before the transformation is completed, so Will and Ashe find themselves trapped in the no-man’s-land between life and death, detached from conventional time and space. The pair must escape this fragmented landscape of past and present demons before it’s too late…


“Thematic elements litter the landscape of Aarons world and you can see a strong mind at work. Phillip Andre Botello and Jacqueline Jandrell carry the film with solid performances and feel really grounded in this semi limbo dreamscape that Aaron has mapped out for them.” Benjamin Frankenberg

“It all worked and I really enjoyed it and am impressed with the work that went into making this movie. It’s a genre flick (vampires) that asks questions about mortality and immortality and what that might actually be. Very interesting, fresh, and appreciated.” Gabe Martin

“Aaron Pagniano does such an incredible writing fantastic dialogue that gives his actors Phillip Andre and Jackie Jandrell have amazing chemistry throughout the film. The way he chose to direct this film must have been a bold choice and it really paid off. It’s very stylish and slick.” Infamous Horror

” …the chemistry between the Andre and Jandrell is believable and their dialogue as they philosophize about life and the afterlife is engaging without being heavy-handed […] Sunset on the River Styx is a heady, unique independent horror effort with arresting visuals and absorbing performances.” The Scariest Things

” …Sunset on the River Styx won’t be to everyone’s taste. The slow beginning and bizarre plotting will probably leave a lot of viewers scratching their heads, and some of the rapid-fire cutting in the last act may make some people’s heads ache. But if you’re up for something different this is a rewarding and at times fascinating film.” Voices from the Balcony


Sunset on the River Styx premiered at the Cinequest Film & Creativity Festival in Redwood City, California, on March 7, 2020.

In the USA, Indican Pictures released Sunset on the River Styx On-Demand on October 5, 2021.

Cast and characters:

Phillip Andre Botello … Will
Jacqueline Jandrell … Ashe (as Jakki Jandrell)
Cory Vaughn … Wreck
Avery Kristen Pohl … Brit (as Avery Pohl)
J. Robert Alves … Chaz Franzel (annoyed bus passenger) (as Joe Alves)
Aaron Pagniano … Yuppie on Bus
Joseph Papa … Yuppie on Bus
Alex Himelberser … Yuppie on Bus
Tricia Christen-Rivas … Homeless Woman (as Tricia Cristen-Rivas)
Claude Wilson … Store Clerk
Daniel Dane … Rude Shopper
Chris Cook … Bus Driver
Sump James … Bus Driver
Donna Young … Bus Driver
Rick Stutzel … Rowdy Man


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