‘Devil’s Path’ wanders off and on the horror genre

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“The woods have always been where I felt most comfortable – safe from society and people who terrify me. We hurt and terrorize each other without a second thought, for reasons that are meaningless. In nature, animals only kill to survive.

“This place was our chance to leave everything behind. To start our own path.” – Noah’s (Stephen Twardokus) soliloquy in Devil’s Path

The 2018 winner of Best First Narrative Feature and Best Supporting Actor at FilmOut San Diego, Devil’s Path follows two men who meet up in a popular wilderness cruising spot for a casual hookup. However, their random meeting descends into a B-rated nightmare as the two men find themselves in a position of being the next victims of a killer.

Noah, an odd and jittery romanticist meets Patrick (JD Scalzo), a frequenter of the park, and the two spark an awkward conversation – to the extent that it’s unlikely they would continue on together along a blocked-off area of the trail where other men had recently disappeared. Yet they do.

Along their stiff-jointed journey, the interaction copulates into existential riffs and an almost tug-of-war of whose past is darker, all the while (like a cliff note) being hunted by a couple of implausible well-dressed, branch-wielding homophobes.

Written and directed by Matthew Montgomery, the precipice of Devil’s Path is, by definition, hazardous and marked with a few unnerving twists, and the understated epilogue tells of the desperation that comes with feelings of depression and anxiety – a cry for help that goes unanswered. But overall, the attempt at a stark film comes across as fuzzy.

Devil’s Path will be released on DVD and VOD March 5.

Photo courtesy of Breaking Glass Pictures

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