The Roost

"Excellent"

The Roost Review


The great thing about early John Carpenter films is their purposeful, deliberate intention of setting up and paying off genuinely scary moments. Ti West's The Roost embraces that spirit, eschewing extensive character and plot development in favor of delivering a series of scary set pieces. West, a recent film school graduate embarking on his first feature, shows an uncanny knack for camera placement, eerie and evocative lighting, and timing. In much the same way the good comedian knows how to time out a joke, West understands the nature of fright.

The Roost follows four kids en route to a wedding, lost during the dead of night in some rural backwoods. In time-honored horror movie tradition, their car breaks down and they're left near an abandoned farmhouse and barn with no resources at their disposal -- their cell phone is dead from over-use. West dallies a bit too much during this part of the movie, since we never really get to know any of these characters very well.

In that sense, The Roost is less John Carpenter and more of a throwback to more B-movie slasher flicks like The Prowler or Friday the 13th. But during that time, we get used to a certain mood and style of filmmaking: handheld cinematography, low lighting within an all-pervasive darkness, and deep, grainy pictures. By the time a swarm of vampire bats descend upon the kids and the local sheriff (John Speredakos, cast in that classic "What are you kids doing out here?" role that screams Dead Meat), The Roost is locked and loaded. It becomes all about basic horror film technique: Can we make it to the set of car keys before the bats get us, and if we do, can we make it to the car? How long will we be safe inside this section of the barn, and what's that sound overhead?

That's the delight and catharsis of good scary movies. And West absolutely knows how to deliver on that most simple, basic level. It's fun to be scared, and refreshing to have a horror filmmaker interested in delivering on those shocks. Unlike the lousy remake of The Fog, West never overexplains the horror. He just lets it play out. He doesn't try to dazzle with state-of-the-art pyrotechnics, but instead gets that simple presentation can go a long way. (That said, the bats, designed by a team called Quiet Man, look like the real thing.)

Of course, sinister bats would be bad enough, but West also indulges in a penchant for gore and has the bat victims transform into flesh-eating zombies. When he's through being scary, he goes for the good old-fashioned gross-out. By the time he reaches his climax with the survivors trying to make it across the bridge to safety, The Roost has taken you on a gleeful funhouse ride. Anyone who says they don't make 'em like they used to just isn't looking hard enough.

The DVD includes a making-of featurette, a vignette on bats, and a student film from West.



The Roost

Facts and Figures

Run time: 80 mins

In Theaters: Friday 13th January 2006

Distributed by: Digital Cinema Solutions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 53%
Fresh: 10 Rotten: 9

IMDB: 4.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Trevor, Vanessa Horneff as Allison, as Brian, as Tow Truck Driver, as The Horror Host


Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

45 Years Movie Review

45 Years Movie Review

Like an antidote to vacuous blockbusters, this intelligent, thoughtful drama packs more intensity into a...

Straight Outta Compton Movie Review

Straight Outta Compton Movie Review

This biopic gallops through the career of groundbreaking gangsta rappers N.W.A, working its way through...

We Are Your Friends Movie Review

We Are Your Friends Movie Review

Basically the perfect summer movie, this lightweight drama has a great-looking cast and plenty of...

Sinister 2 Movie Review

Sinister 2 Movie Review

As the ghoul from the 2012 horror hit stalks a new family, this sequel's sharply...

Advertisement
Paper Towns Movie Review

Paper Towns Movie Review

After setting the scene with vivid characters and some insightful interaction, the plot of this...

Vacation Movie Review

Vacation Movie Review

Both the characters and the tone have been updated as a new generation of Grizwolds...

Trainwreck Movie Review

Trainwreck Movie Review

Amy Schumer makes her big screen debut with a script that feels like a much-extended...

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Movie Review

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Movie Review

Adopting a deliciously groovy vibe, Guy Ritchie turns the iconic 1960s TV spy series into...

Advertisement