Blu-ray Review: Purgatory Road (2017)

February 6, 2019

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

Man-oh-man, did  Vincent Kirby (Michael Lebeau) ever make one hell of a shitty decision as a child. You see, ol’ V-man did nothing to stop a female thief from stealing his Dad’s cash, which had the adverse effect of making his Pa do the whole suicide bag. This lead Vincent to become a Catholic priest operating his “ministry” put of a piece of crap van in the rural south along with his brother Michael (Jacob Craig). Of course Father Vincent provides the service of taking Confession, and he pardons every sin…except stealing; anyone who admits to that wrong doing finds themselves in Deadsville courtesy of the rage of that petulant padre! Things go just peachy until a real psycho killer (must resist…Qu’est-ce que c’est…oh damn it) named Mary Francis (Trista Robinson) enters Vincent and Jacob’s lives. She of course digs their whole murder biz, but things soon become frayed between the brothers with Mary’s presence on the scene!

Director Mark Savage (who also co-wrote the feature with Tom Parnell) brings some interesting dynamics to Purgatory Road, especially in regards to characterization. Lebeau and Craig make for a believable, though completely insane, family unit with the former being the ultimate authority figure who’s violence is shocking but justified (in his own twisted mind anyway), and the later providing a sense of grounding as Michael helps his brother out of loyalty, but he does so almost robotically at times, and when a rift occurs between these characters the tension is palpable.

Not as successful is the grating performance from Robinson. Her Mary is a combination of Baby Firefly and Harley Quinn accentuating the worst parts of both. You get a sex and murder addicted, baby talking, giggling, teddy bear carrying pain in the ass that will give you a headache long before the credits role. And don’t forget that pouting…ugh.

Visually the film is damn solid, with plenty of artistic panache, and some truly suberb lighting that brings to mind Mario Bava or Argento in the best possible way. Also the blood and gore are on point, but seeing as this release comes to us via Unearthed Films that will come as little surprise.

Speaking of Unearthed, they have included a fair amount of bonus content on this release including an informative and listenable audio commentary featuring Savage and Parnell, featurettes on the film’s excellent effects work, actors, and Parnell’s various duties on the film, and a Q&A session with Savage and Cairns.

That one character aside; I can sum the whole affair up like this: If you are a fan of ’70’s style exploitation flicks, or love a good religion used to disguise evil parable, then Purgatory Road will be the answer to your putrid prayers!



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