03rd Dec2021

‘Autumn Road’ Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Riley Cusick, Lorelei Linklater, Justin Meeks, Lar Park Lincoln | Written and Directed by Riley Cusick

I’m never quite sure with Haunted House attractions movies. The attractions themselves have never really interested me despite being a huge horror fan, so maybe that’s part of the reason. But they also always seem so formulaic, so I am happy to report that Autumn Road at least tries to do things a bit different with the idea.

The disappearance of a young girl effects the local town and in particular two twins who run a, you’ve guessed it, haunted house attraction, and an aspiring actress who soon becomes friends with them. The story isn’t centred on the haunted house attraction and that’s definitely a good thing, as when it does show up properly it’s towards the end of the movie and it feels like something fresh. If we had seen scene after scene of scares from inside the attraction, I think it would have lost its impact pretty quickly.

Autumn Road is directed by Riley Cusik who also plays the leads – twin brothers Charlie and Vincent. Cusik has recently starred in indie horror hits VFW and Satanic Panic but this is his first full length feature film. And when a director puts himself in the TWO lead roles, you could easily think this is going to be some kind of vanity project but it thankfully never feels like one.

We learn that the twin brothers and new friend all have their own issues and trying to deal with them in very different ways. Their new relationships with each other only make things more interesting (and complicated) and the dynamic between the three is great. Lorelei Linklater stars as Laura and puts in a really good performance. When needed she’s subtle in what she does but when the emotions are high she’s just as good. While Cusik puts in two strong performances and two very different ones. The twins are very different characters and that come across clearly.

This is a more story-driven horror so there’s not really any big jump scares, it’s more psychological. But it works in that way and it definitely has this very Autumny style and feeling to it all. Kind of drab and a little eerie. The small, more horror-fueled moments are decent and even the killers mask – a handmade owl face, somehow works. It’s an almost plain and not really scary mask but I liked it and it’s perfect for the character.

There were times where my attention waned because as a part slasher part story driven horror, there are times when it’s not as exciting or intriguing as I would have liked. Horror fans will enjoy a brief appearance from Lar Park-Lincoln of Friday the 13th VII: The New Blood fame.

Cusik is definitely someone to keep an eye on for both directing and acting because there’s lots of great ideas here and with more experience he will only improve. Autumn Road will be a great movie to check out each Halloween season/

**** 3/5

Autumn Road is now available across North America, on a number of digital and cable platforms, including iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, Google Play, Comcast, Dish and Shaw.

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