JBB Featured Film Reviewer

Ben Nagy reviews Clinton Road ’til he cain’t no more

Yeah, I’m gonna glue my eyeballs to the old Clinton Road
I’m gonna watch ’til I can’t no more

Ice-T plays an exposition-delivering night club owner and we get six clueless people wandering around the woods near where this guy’s wife disappeared in a quest for the dreaded “closure” for himself and his missing wife’s sister in Clinton Road.

Ben Nagy reviews Clinton Road 'til he cain't no more 13
Ice-T dominates the first third of Clinton Road where he gets to talk about all the weird (rhymes with snit) he saw while driving out there one night. (All photos courtesy Midnight Releasing)

If you get through the first 22 minutes dominated by the Ice-Man warning these fools not to go to this road in the New Jersey backwoods because the place is dark and evil and that he once experienced a time loop involving a lady hitchhiker back in the day, then buckle up, because the next 56-some odd (and I do mean odd) minutes are filled with off-screen deaths, irrational behavior beyond the norm we’ve come to expect from horror characters and the most directionally challenged killer stalker in motion picture history.

The guy with the missing wife, Mike (Ace Young), isn’t too bereaved. He dons a Justin Timberlake hat and joins his sister-in-law Isabella (Katie Morrison) and four other people, including his new gal, Kayla, at a night club where the stars whose names are featured on the poster hang out.

They’re joined by multi-colored-eyed mystic Begory and his girlfriend Gianna and Mike’s pal Tyler. Begory’s been hired by Mike and Isabella to use his psychic powers to figure out what happened to Jessica — Mike’s bride and Isabella’s sister, who presumably was the woman in the flick’s first scene being stalked by this bald bearded guy in the woods.

Ben Nagy reviews Clinton Road 'til he cain't no more 14
Multi-colored-eyed mystic Begory (James DeBello) leads the quest for closure on Clinton Road, has a seizure and then his topless girlfriend aardvarks his prone body before he gets bludgeoned by a bearded Ironworker.

The six imbibe and party at Ice-T’s club. Kayla’s earring gets ripped out. They leave the club. Back at their apartment, Mike and Kayla aardvark after Kayla says she supports Mike’s pursuit of closure in trying to find his missing wife. Then they head out into the woods where all six of them face the peril of the haunted Clinton Road.

Stylish filmmakers show rather than tell. Sometimes production constraints force a filmmaker to tell rather than show. Unfortunately, there are portions where Clinton Road does neither. So we get Jessica, that opening victim who we’re not sure whether she really ended up a victim.

We get a dude dragged into a creek by an unseen monster. We get a lot of aimless wandering, with and without limping, in the woods. We get another victim carried off screen and never seen again. Not even a body reveal or a pile of meat that could have maybe passed for remains. We get two characters who show up in the waning minutes with the intent to aardvark in a Dodge in the middle of the road who I guess ended up adding to the body count, maybe.

All the inconsistencies, and these are just a few — I didn’t even get into the Living Dead Girl wandering around screaming at everbody or Mike’s transcendental gastric cramping as the film wound down — are explained away in a post-credits scene where another random character shows up (a truck driver) who’s driving down the stretch of road, sees Ice-T’s hitchhiker from the exposition dump early in the flick, and explains that he’s driving through H-E-double hockey sticks.

With a runtime of about an hour and 20, there was something missing. Might have been the cut I was given. Maybe not.

Ben Nagy reviews Clinton Road 'til he cain't no more 15
  • Best gyrations: Gianna, girlfriend of Begory, climbs aboard, pops her top and aardvarks him while he’s still knocked out from a psychic seizure that involved him acting like Tom Green in one of his earlier sketches when he would flop down on the ground and twitch all over the place. This scene earns the movie an additional half star because at least Gianna followed through on an earlier promise of getting conjugal in the woods.
  • Best blow: This wandering Ironworker who stalks in the woods leaves Begory with Excedrin headache No. 11 and a bit of a mark, but the application of said mark with a smith’s mallet occurs off camera.
  • Best quote: Observing an amulet she’s wearing, Tyler tells Isabella that he “loves the bull’s eye between her tits.”
  • Best guest appearance: Eric Roberts flashes his SAG card and gets himself into Ice-T’s club.
  • Best disappearance: Carlos Leon as the Deputy Ranger who channels Ralph from the Friday the 13th flicks and tells the six characters exactly what NOT to do (of course they do those things anyway), then points offscreen in every other scene he’s in and tells people to run away.
  • Biggest disappointments: At least four deaths happened offscreen, if indeed the characters are dead.
  • Best fashion statement: The coverall-wearing Ironworker sports some steampunk goggles he stole from Trent Reznor who wore em in the classic Nine Inch Nails video for Closer, but they obviously hindered his visual acuity as he was frequently seen going in a direction perpendicular to where his intended victims were headed.
  • Best use of dialogue: Mike and Isabella find a haunted house (this scene has the best visuals of the flick by the way) after not bothering to try to rescue one of their group that has been snatched by the Ironworker to an undetermined and unseen fate. They find a fire burning in the fireplace inside (actual dialogue follows).
    Mike: “There’s a fire.”
    Isabella: “Somebody must be here.”
    Then Isabella’s next five lines are “Hello, is anybody here?” or some variation as she wanders around.
    The scene ends with them both making out with Jessica, Mike’s missing wife, simultaneously in separate rooms. Then they find themselves outside kissing each other and the building has disappeared.
    Then Isabella gets hit by a truck while standing in the middle of Clinton Road.
Ben Nagy reviews Clinton Road 'til he cain't no more 16
Mike and Isabella kiss in the scene described immediately above but before Clinton Road’s sucky drivers claim another victim.

A star and a half.

Clinton Road is available on Vudu, iTunes, Google Play and YouTube. You can also get it on DVD.

Gonna be off next week on the occasion that I’m going to be attending the WKRP Thanksgiving Turkey Toss, but I’ll be back the week after with another review. Hope you all have a great holiday, and please don’t be like the Ironworker and bludgeon anyone over a Blu-ray, no matter how awesome a Black Friday deal it is!

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