Reviewed by: JimmyO
What's it about
On their way to a wedding, a group of young people find themselves stranded after a car accident. When they search for help, all they end up finding are a bunch of bats and a couple of rabid zombies.
Is it good movie?
When I first started watching The Roost I found myself already disliking the film. Something wasn’t working for me. Maybe it was the obvious low-budget car accident or the bland characters but something was wrong. Then, about twenty minutes in something happened, I started to like these guys and I realized that there aren’t enough good bat movies. This is a low-budget film that is not afraid to show it, and I started to think that that just may be the point as to why Ti West made some of the choices he did. Mr. West has a good eye for horror. Although he suggests too much sometimes, he has a knack for using the space cinematically, especially when one of his characters remains small on-screen and we see all the shadows that surround him. Sometimes a good director has to pull you in slowly and for me, he did just that. Because halfway through the movie, I was completely hooked. Although the cheapness sometimes got to me; including the character Trevor (Karl Jacobs) and his magically appearing glasses.
The Roost is kind of like The Blair Witch Project with a little bit of The Evil Dead for good measure. Actually, it seems to take bits and pieces from many other horror films while still evoking a freshness that could very well be the energy of the filmmakers. And as I stated earlier, the characters I found to be uninteresting and bland. But in a strange way that made the film work later on, Wil Hornoff, Vanessa Hornoff (who play brother and sister in the film; good casting), Karl Jacobs and Sean Reid all bring a very real presence to their characters. I didn’t feel a whole lot of acting going on. They just seemed to develop naturally. I also dug the special effects, although some of the undead make-up looked like make-up, it still worked. And they bats were pretty damn creepy especially in those moments where only one would fly by leaving the audience to wonder where the rest were. A little bit of tension can go a long way.
Video / Audio
Video: This “widescreen” presentation enhanced for 16:9 TV is not the best transfer. It often looked a little too grainy but hell; it’s a low budget movie so it could have been worse.
Audio: The Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sounded pretty good especially with the creepy score by Jeff Grace. That’s some spooky music right there.
Well, if you look at the box you will find that there are “Two Killer Featurettes!” and truth be told, they ain’t that bad.
First we get Making The Roost (31:01) which is a pretty in-depth look at making the film including how they did some of the stunts with no budget. My only problem with this feature is that it seemed a little off balance. It just seemed a bit oddly paced and might have benefited from a little structure. It’s still an interesting watch, especially if you are thinking about making a low-budget horror film.
The second “killer” featurette is The Truth About Bats (9:36) which is basically some guy telling us as much about bats as he can in less than ten minutes. I really liked this one but of course, I like bats.
We also get a pretty cool short film from Ti West called Prey (10:30). This is another good use of making the character small in the frame so you can see all that surrounds him. I liked this little short even though the subject has been done countless times before. Good stuff.
Next we have a Photo Gallery where you get to push the remote and look at pictures. I just don’t get these…
And last but not least (well, maybe kind of least) we have Trailers for “Reeker” and “The Curse of El Charro”.
Ti West has created this homage of sorts, to many other indie cult classics and gives his movie an old-fashioned horror vibe. Although the lack of budget may test some, I think it gave the movie heart. And I also grew to appreciate these actors who felt more like the real thing than you would get in you’re average Hollywood horror flick. Call me batty, but I dug The Roost (Sorry, it had to be said).