Devil’s Highway (2005)

Devil's Highway review (click to see it bigger!)Starring Shane Brolly, Natassia Malthe, Robert Miano, Al Sapienza

Directed by Fabien Pruvot

Distributed by Image Entertainment

Here’s my dilemma:

How does one write an exciting, fun, or even somewhat entertaining review for a film that lacks all of the same qualities?

Devil’s Highway may have a relatively interesting concept and a back story that could have been used to create a film with some redeeming qualities, but somewhere along its winding path of sun-baked pavement, it lost all its senses. And I don’t think they can blame the heat!

The movie follows a tour bus that is destined for Las Vegas. Its passengers include a group of about a dozen people comprised of a runaway, a priest, a couple of college kids, an older couple traveling cross-country to visit each of their four children, a second driver, a few others, and (just to make it interesting) a body-jumping version of Satan himself. The story slowly progresses from pit stop to pit stop. You learn a bit about each character and find out that most of the individuals have a secret to hide. The passengers begin to dwindle in numbers as the devil assumes a different identity at each subsequent break.

Devil's Highway review (click to see it bigger!)Throughout the film there is an effort to touch on each person’s hidden past or unsavory conduct before they are taken over by the demon on board, but it ends up seeming muddled and unnecessary. Only once is concern ever shown for a missing companion, nearly eliminating any real sense of dread throughout most of the movie. No one seems to notice or care that people are not returning to the bus. The audience is fully aware of who the demon is at any given moment, which also detracts from any tension that could have been utilized by the filmmakers. Essentially, what could have been an edge of your seat bus trip ends up being as tedious as if you were actually on a cross-country bus trip yourself, complete with the guy next to you snoring on your shoulder.

If you’re hoping that the movie might make up for its plot issues with decent violence or gore, you’ll be sadly disappointed. The kills are hectic at best, if they are even onscreen at all. Hell, I wasn’t even sure if anyone was dying at all. Pick a scab and you would have more blood under your fingernail than this entire film has. You may actually enjoy it more too.

In addition to the previously discussed problems Devil’s Highway has, let’s toss in the fact that the entire film is riddled with quirky editing techniques and numerous “fade to black” areas. So many in fact that even if by some off chance you actually do enjoy the rest of the film, you would be hard pressed not to get distracted or irritated by the constant interruptions. It drives me nuts when filmmakers take a decent idea and piss away all the potential by trying to do “too much”.

Another thing that gets me is the fact that in order to market these direct-to-video releases, they are touted as “For fans of the Final Destination Trilogy” or compared to titles such as The Hills Have Eyes, Hostel, and Silent Hill, all of which this film claims and makes me want to either wet my pants with fits of laughter or hunt these lying fools down and show them what’s missing from their piece of shit wannabe film in the first place! They want Hostel … Oh, I will give them Hostel!

I have no idea what is supposed be contained on the DVD release of Devil’s Highway, but be warned. The movie runs out of fuel long before the stupid bus does!

1 out of 5

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Jon Condit

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