Monday, October 30, 2023

Road Under Construction

As someone who devoured the Game of Thrones novels only to sadly come to accept the fact that George R.R. Martin was now bored of writing them and had no actual plans to finish his story on the page, I know the heartbreak of an incomplete tale. 

This is important information for today's film. 

Quick Plot: St. Charles is a quiet little town, one so small that it only employs two men on its police department despite having a history of serial killings and a major scarecrow festival coming up (don't get too excited...about anything, really).

High schooler (sure) Joe is moody, probably because she's been keeping a positive pregnancy test in her purse. Side note: a positive pregnancy test is something you pee on. Generally, it seems like poor hygiene to store it loosely next to your chapstick and wallet.

Anyhoo, Joe reluctantly agrees to boyfriend Corey's experimental double date with pals Rachael and Joe. The girls would be happy for something low key, but the boys have more ambitious plans: driving to the titular Munger Road in the hopes that they can capture ghost activity on camera. 

Meanwhile, Chief Kirkhoven and his loyal Deputy Hendricks are busy on the trail of escaped child murderer Father Shea Gunther. Through the slowest, least efficient investigation possible, they stumble on underground tunnels and bones, but no homicidal former priest. Could it be because he's busy messing with the teenagers' car up on Munger Road?

Maybe? Here's the wild thing about this movie, thus far the sole release from writer/director Nicholas Smith: IT'S INCOMPLETE.

At the risk of spoiling something that I don't know if it's fair to actually call a film, Munger Road ends with a literal "TO BE CONTINUED." We don't know who's really dead, who really killed them, or, perhaps more importantly, WHO'S GONNA WIN THE SCARECROW FESTIVAL.

Also, what IS a scarecrow festival?

Sigh. I never enjoy beating on a low budget film, especially when it's clear the project was done with heart. Smith creates some good atmosphere within certain sequences, including a great transition in camera perspective during one of the movie's found footage shots. 

But to what end? Munger Road 2 apparently never found the funding it needed, so 12 years in and we're left with an unfinished 90 minute story that offers absolutely no satisfaction.

And worse, no scarecrows.

High Points
Watching Bruce Davison twirl a shotgun around like a second string member of a middle school color guard troop gave me an epiphone: I wish he would star in more bad movies. I mean this as an incredibly sincere compliment. He has such an immediately comforting AND comfortable presence onscreen in virtually any material, making it easy for an audience to be invested. More bad movies could benefit from him on the cast list

Low Points

Lessons Learned
Illinois teenagers have great memories when it comes to 3rd grade science lessons, but terrible instincts when it comes to understanding the very concept of time

Never enter a church with a shotgun

There may indeed be a difference between telling someone she's acting like a bitch and actually calling her a bitch, but dudes, trust me: she doesn't want to hear it, and you're wrong for having said it in the first place

Someone needs to warn viewers that they're not watching Munger Road: they're watching Munger Road: Part 1 (2 Pending Production, Proceed At Your Own Risk). Fine, that title is probably a little mouthy, but at least it's honest! So yes, obviously, I do not recommend this movie unless you have some masochist satisfaction from not being satisfied. You do you. 


  1. I remember this one! I kindasorta liked it and waited for the follow-up that never arrived.
    Then I forgot all about it except for a vague notion that I should try to remember what 'that first part horror movie' was and see if its sequel is available yet.
    Sometimes incomplete can leave an intriguing scent in the air... a 'fill in the blank' that's maybe better for going unrevealed (like horror franchise attempts that should have stopped at the first movie), but that's not the case for this one.

  2. I can't decide if I would have been less or more angry had I seen this when it came out expecting a followup. It's a shame all around, but yes...there's an unfinished thread dangling in my intestine until this is resolved