Route 666 (2001)
By: Craig Villinger  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Universal (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 2.35:1 (16:9 enhanced). English 2.0, English DD 5.1. 86 Minutes
The Movie
Director: William Wesley
Starring: Lou Diamond Phillips, Lori Petty, Steven Williams, L.Q Jones, Dale Midkiff, Alex McArthur, Mercedes Colon
Screenplay: William Wesley, Thomas Weber, Scott Fivelson
Tagline: One way in, no way out
Country: USA
In 1988, William Wesley directed the fantastic horror film Scarecrows. Full of atmosphere and containing some nifty gore effects, the movie showed that Wesley had great potential as a genre director, and he was quick to follow it up with.... absolutely nothing. Almost fourteen years have passed since then, and now finally Wesley's second directorial effort has been released in Australia. So how does it stack up against his first horror outing? We'll get to that in a minute.

Lou Diamond Phillips stars as Jack La Roca, leader of a team of US federal agents sent into the middle of the desert to retrieve high profile mob witness "Rabbit", who has done a runner right on the eve of his big court appearance. Problem is, the government aren't the only ones interested in finding this star witness, and after catching up with him in a roadside bar (with B movie legend Dick Miller making a cameo) La Roca and his team are involved in a gunfight with mob hit men which leaves them of the defensive and desperately searching the maze of desert roads for the quickest way back to civilization. Despite Rabbits advice to the contrary, they decide to travel on Route 66, nicknamed "Route 666" by the locals after it was officially condemned in 1969 following a violent incident that left four chain-gang members dead. Soon enough, they discover exactly why the road was closed off as they are besieged by zombies hell bent on turning them into squishy Roadkill using sledge hammers, shovels and jack hammers, and if that isn't bad enough, they must also deal with the local cops who are keen on keeping route 666's dark past a secret for a little while longer yet.

There isn't all that much to say about Route 666. The tile is fairly cheesy and un-original, and that example seems to have been followed by the film itself. This a disappointing follow up to the excellent Scarecrows for director William Wesley, and lacks virtually all of the qualities that made his first outing so enjoyable. There is enough splatter on offer to satisfy hardcore horror junkies, and Wesley does manage to make things look good, with flash cars and great desert scenery, but there is little else on hand here to make this movie something worth recommending. One of the films main problems seems to be the fact that it can't decide if it wants to be a serious horror film or a cheesy load of zombie nonsense, and ultimately ends up being a rather uncomfortable mix of both. More zombie mayhem and less talk would perhaps have made this a much more enjoyable experience.
We are treated to a fantastic looking 2.35:1 transfer (16x9 enhanced), with strong, vibrant colours and a sharp image throughout. No problems here.
The disc contains two audio options, a Dolby Digital 5.1 track and a 2.0 surround track. Both sound decent enough, although they aren't anything special. The 5.1 mix does manage to make good use of the various desert sound effects to create an enjoyable atmosphere.
Extra Features
Only a trailer for the film, which actually manages to make it look as though this will be a fairly good movie. Too bad...
The Verdict
If you enjoy zombies and don't expect too much from your films, then by all means head down to your local video store and pick this one up for the night. Those looking for something long lasting to add to their collection however should steer away from Route 666.
Movie Score
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