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  Masters of Horror: Incident On and Off a Mountain Road I Will SurviveBuy this film here.
Year: 2005
Director: Don Coscarelli
Stars: Bree Turner, Angus Scrimm, John DeSantis, Ethan Embry, Heather Feeney
Genre: Horror, TV Series
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Ellen (Bree Turner) is driving along an isolated stretch of forest road, listening to the car radio; she takes her eyes of the road ahead to retune it when suddenly a car looms up from the darkness, stopped right in her way. She hits the brakes but is unable to avoid hitting it and her car shudders to a halt, briefly knocking out Ellen on the steering wheel. In this period of blackout, she recalls meeting her husband Bruce (Ethan Embry), a survival expert who taught her how to get along when the going gets tough, so when she awakes, she gets out and wanders over to the vehicle that caused her accident, but cannot see anybody inside. What she does see, however, is a trail of blood leading to the side of the road and as she follows it and looks over the drop to the valley below she notices a hulking figure climbing up towards her - carrying a woman who screams for help...

Don Coscarelli, who adapted this Joe R. Landsdale short story along with Stephen Romano, was chosen as the director to open the Masters of Horror with Incident On and Off a Mountain Road, and creator Mick Garris was obviously playing it safe by starting with this compact, nuts and bolts chiller thriller. It is blessed with a resourceful heroine in Turner, whose character has been having lessons in dealing with psycho killers which is lucky as she is up against a formidable foe in the Texas Chain Saw Massacre-style villain (John DeSantis). The episode also deals swiftly with the curse of modern horror movies, the mobile phone - here Ellen drops it in fright and in her struggle to get away she is unable to pick it up what with the killer advancing and everything.

There are frequent flashbacks to Ellen's life with Bruce intercut with the menace she has to deal with in the here and now, allowing us to see how she knows, for example, how to set a trap or three for the baddie, but also charting how her relationship with her husband broke down (only sketched in, really). Unfortunately, although her first trap slows the killer down, her plans backfire when he sends his hapless captive ahead and she falls into a pit with a spike in it that Ellen has prepared, allowing Ellen to be captured. When she wakes up (annoyingly, after fainting with fear - what a lame development!) she is chained in a basement with only Phantasm star Angus Scrimm for company, injecting a pleasing measure of personality to the proceedings as a rambling, singing prisoner. And from there things only get worse, but there's a twist on the way. Coscarelli's effort is largely no frills, but gets the job done and is reasonable enough, yet somehow feels anonymous compared to his other work. Music by Chris Stone.

[Part of the Anchor Bay Masters of Horror box set of DVDs, which include a host of extras such as commentaries and documentaries to keep fans occupied.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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