Film Review: ‘Purgatory Road’ (2018)

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Stars: Gary Cairns, Luke Albright and Trista Robinson
Director: Mark Savage
Distributor: Jinga Films

“You’ll burn for it without absolution.”

Opening in the dark of night, a scared child witnesses his home broken into and its valuables stolen. The cruel event leads to an even greater tragedy witnessed by the young boy and his brother. With the years gone by, the brothers – Vincent (Gary Cairns) and Michael (Luke Albright) – have turned to religion, in a mobile sense. Providing confession within a sketchy campervan, Father Vincent will not only redeem you of your sins for a small fee, but he will stab you to death with the wrath of god too.

The brothers’ murderous operation eventually crosses paths with that of Mary Francis – a fellow crazy with a lust for blood. Mary – very sickly, yet forcibly sweet – manages to influence a greater divide between the already-awkward brotherhood between Vincent and Mike. With Mike wanting to get out away from this lifestyle and pursue normality with his waitress girlfriend, Vincent on the other hand begins to fall under Mary’s influence as she expands upon her own murderous desires and schemes. Can they all find a path to solidarity?

From slight commentaries or suggestions of religion taking your money and then killing you, to the clear perverse nature of Father Vincent and his followers – explicit examples being necrophilia, and infantophilia through infantilism… Purgatory Road refuses to take it easy in its depiction of religion. However, there is an imbalance, or maybe an unfulfilled vision. Purgatory Road has its dark comedic moments, but unfortunately, the film takes itself too seriously, thus ultimately making its black comedy intentions fall flat. Purgatory Road is grotesque beyond acceptability, and there are feelings at times that the film wants to be the darkest black comedy out there, but the elements or moments just don’t happen frequently enough to strike the perfect balance. Instead, we are left with a crime-horror, which is a sick viewing all too often.

Under the guidance of writer-director Mark Savage, a world has been established where so much of a despicable nature occurs, yet there isn’t an unrealistic ambiance to most of it, despite its out-of-this-world concept. The concept is absolutely insane. The characters are sickening too. The main trio of performances are so well disciplined, that there is an instant justifiable hate for them individually and collectively.

Ultimately, Purgatory Road is a WILD exploitation of drugs, murder, blood, religion, and even oral sex. This is a film like no other, though it could have easily gone down another road (pardon the pun) had the iconic campervan been used as a plot device to establish Purgatory Road as more of a road movie, which would have been cool, but maybe not fitting in contextually with the rest of the film. But as it is, not much comes close to the ridiculous nature of Purgatory Road, thus making it a must see for anybody in the mood for something different

Purgatory Road is now available for streaming in the UK on Amazon Prime. Many thanks to Jinga Films for the pleasure of this film.

2.5 Stars


For John.

This article’s featured image: By Source, Jinga Films, Fair Use

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