Devil's Highway is a disappointing horror film. The basic premise is that a stretch of highway in the desert is frequented by the devil and he likes to possess people and presumably steal their souls. A promising start soon fades away as this confused tale descends into drudgery.
We open on a stretch of desert highway with a strange woman soliciting a lift from a guy obviously running from the cops. The conversation turns bizarre when the woman speaks with a satanic voice and we cut to the main focus of the film, a tour bus headed through the desert for Vegas. The now possessed guy from the opening scene is last aboard the bus and he joins an interesting mix of characters who are introduced over time. There's the priest and his assistant, the college kids, the run away girl, the mild mannered couple, the veteran bus driver and a few more besides.
As the tour begins each stop sees someone aboard disappear as the devil moves from body to body leaving the old ones behind (presumably dead though this is never actually confirmed). The ill wife who forms half of the mild mannered couple senses that something evil is aboard and seems to be able to tell which person is the devil. The bus driver too is growing suspicious that something funny is going on though he suspects the college kids.
The promising start as we are introduced to the various characters is accompanied by stylish direction and it seems as though the film may develop into something good but then it all goes wrong. After a few of the characters have been bumped off they wedge in a back story about a suspected witch and a creepy place called Iron Forge where the last fifteen inhabitants disappeared without trace. The flashback scene and indeed the entire idea make no sense at all.
Eventually the bus ends up taking a shortcut along Highway 13 where naturally they run out of fuel. The bus driver discovers that the fuel tank has been deliberately sabotaged and is forced to search the nearby deserted ghost town of you guessed it, Iron Forge, for fuel. The film then builds to a messy climax with a horribly predictable ending.
Direction comes from Fabien Pruvot and while the stylish touches are initially quite engaging they become overbearing and wearisome over time. The editing especially in the latter half of the movie is nothing short of terrible as the action jumps around inexplicably. Jennifer Farrell is the credited writer and while the premise is vaguely interesting and the characters full of potential the story becomes muddled and there are many missed opportunities. For example the body switching idea is never played with and the audience always know who the possessed character is, this could have been used to introduce some much needed tension.
The acting is not the greatest. Shane Brolly plays Roger the dodgy guy running from the cops, Natassia Malthe plays Michelle, one of the college kids and Corbin Timbrook plays the priest. None of them are particularly good. Perhaps the best performance comes from the grizzled Vietnam veteran who drives the bus played by Robert Miano.
Devil's Highway is in short not a very good horror film. There is no real tension, the story is poor, the acting is poor, the director is just trying too hard and there is nothing in the way of scares or gore.Short Review
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