Bar fights! Wife beating jokes! Monsters with a hairdresser! Lots and lots of guns!
You know you’re on to gold when one Amazon review reads, “The worst film I’ve seen since 7 heads in a Duffle Bag.” Assuming they mean 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag, I will take their point. This week’s movie was another shitter, but at least it was a remotely fun one to hate.
The 2005 movie The Beast of Bray Road is brought to you by The Asylum, who are known for their Mockbusters and their Sharknado movies. Wisconsin-born director Leigh Scott was one of The Asylum’s most-used directors. Scott worked on over 15 films for asylum in two years. One of them was this thing.
If you recall, I wrote about two “short films” that were “found” in 2002. These two videos, called the Gabel films, tried to be a kind of found footage reel of a man seemingly getting attacked by the beast of Bray Road. It does a fairly good job at looking like a reel of 1970’s home footage. The Beast of Bray Road was released a few years later. It follows the same legend of the Gabel moves, which is essentially a werewolf-like monster who stalks a road in southern Wisconsin. I think that’s the gist of it, anyway.
This is really a period of time in movie history that I hate. Plus it always brings flashbacks of Black Cadillac and I will never get over it. The Beast of Bray Road the type of movie I would expect some guy who refers to himself as a “bro” to describe this movie as “balls to the wall, dude!” Though my imaginary bro character is what I imagine was the target audience for this film. Yes I know this is a low budge movie, but this time era (the decade from about 1996 to 2006) just reminds me of tube tops, light-wash jeans, frosted hair and questionable hair choices. And those are some pretty gross memories.
And somehow this movie ticks all those boxes right in the first couple of frames.
A group of friends are leaving the local bar at closing time. Some of them are trying to get laid while others only are interested in continuing the party at someone’s house, but all have to leave
under the insistence of the bartender, Kelly. Right off the bat, there are already some classic lines of poetry like: “I heard that… hooker” and “Can you not see I’m trying to get laid here?” Unfortunately, these are what all the characters are like in this movie.
One girl, Gretchen, decides she’s had enough for the night and heads home in her junker of a car. But her car breaks down along the way. She calls her friend for help, but her face is clawed by an invasive hairy arm. In the strangest scene cut ever, she’s suddenly out of her car and running through the woods. And no, Gretch doesn’t make it to the opening credits, but is killed a by this beast with bright green eyes and flowing brown hair (but I think it’s meant to be a werewolf).
Enter Sheriff Phil (played by Jeff Denton, also known as Jeff Dneton from Pirates of Treasure Island because grammar), he finds the empty car and reports that the abandoned car is on Bray Road. The blood down the side of the world is suspicious to him, so he sends a sample to the lab to be tested. In the meanwhile, he goes to interview the owner of the car and the wife he likes to beat up, Gretchen’s sister. The sister tells him to head back to Kelly’s bar and look for more information there.
Phil arrives and… wait. What the fuck is this?
Anyway, this is typical sleazy redneck fare inside Kelly’s bar. This might even be the same bar from Black Cadillac. Phil sort of shuffles around “interviewing” people, but just gets hit on because he’s sooooo dreamy! Oh and he then goes to interview the boyfriend, but according to his friend’s Gretchen is a slut so she probably just went home with someone else.
So I guess more importantly, Shelly’s husband is horrible. Thankfully it pays off when we get to watch him die a brutal death at the hands of the beast, and then Shelly shoots her shotgun at the thing. After the beast gets a little too ambitious for one night, it attacks a dog in a backyard. A boy and his friends see it, and beg their mother to do something about it. So she shoots at it. Which thank god for America and guns, right?
The mother goes with the two boys to the police station where Phil learns the story of the Beast of Bray Road. But Phil is a big city boy so he doesn’t believe in monsters. Only stupid rednecks do. On his exit from the scene of the beast attack, he means a cryptozoologist named Quinn. He’s interested in the case, believing that there is something interesting going on in the town. Phil turns down the offer of help and essentially suggests he piss off. When he gets back to the station, he sees Quinn setting up camp inside. Phil’s co-workers at the station believe that they can exploit these attacks to drum up a tourism industry and to bring in documentary crews from television shows. This clearly annoys Phil, but since there’s “no monster” he allows it to carry on.
Shelly and Phil bump into each other at Gretchen’s funeral and we learn that for some reason, Shelly isn’t telling anyone that her husband is dead. Does she not know that everyone would believe her because everyone knows there a monster because, well, IT ATE YOUR SISTER? She returns to Gretchen’s grave that night, totally wasted. When her friend hears the beast, she runs off. But Shelly seems to think that it won’t hurt her.
While more people get picked off left and right, Phil is busy pulling the moves on Kelly. Before they can consummate their love to each other, Phil is called away and informed about the several bodies that have been discovered. With that, the police squad unite to take on their lycanthrope.
The twist at the end is pretty decent. Considering no one will (or should) watch it, I’ll just tell you that (spoilers) Kelly is the Beast of Bray Road and that’s why you should never trust women. To it’s credit, The Beast of Bray Road actually has some fun, and pretty good practical effects. That plus horrible characters actually makes the death scenes pretty entertaining to watch. But it’s still pretty full of some dated tropes and issues that make this movie more boring than campy fun.
I recommend this movie to fans of Linkin Park, misogyny, frosted lip gloss and Black Cadillac.