Directed by Leigh Scott [Other horror films: Frankenstein Reborn (2005), Exorcism: The Possession of Gail Bowers (2006), Hillside Cannibals (2006), Dracula’s Curse (2006), The Hitchhiker (2007), Flu Bird Horror (2008), The Dunwich Horror (2008), The Penny Dreadful Picture Show (2013), Piranha Sharks (2016), The Penny Dreadful Picture Show Re-Animated (2018)]
It’s been many, many years since I’ve last seen this Asylum flick, and I have to admit that I’m happy about revisiting it. By no stretch is The Beast of Bray Road a great film, but it was better than what I remember it being, and though it’s still below average, it’s not altogether a terrible time.
Part of this is due to the way the story’s tackled, specifically in regards to the mysterious creature killing people. The characters aren’t sure if it’s Bigfoot, a werewolf, or some other unknown or as of yet undiscovered creature, and what’s more, when they find out it is a werewolf, the identity of the werewolf is still in question (leading to what I felt was an oddly solid conclusion).
Obviously it’s an Asylum movie, so it’s not perfect. My biggest personal gripe is the design of the creature, what with the long, almost dreadlock hair and the huge ears, but I also found it sort of amusing that, though a big deal is made out of the cycle of the moon during the final scene of the movie, it never once came up beforehand. Also, the license plates on the police vehicle clearly state California, and the film was indeed made in California, but it’s dedicated to “the Great State of Wisconsin” and Bray Road is, in fact, in Wisconsin (this film is partially based off mysterious sightings that took place around Elkhorn, a town in southern Wisconsin).
Oh, and this is a small thing, but there’s a character standing in the woods and makes an observation that, “There’s no birds,” and literally a second later you can clearly hear a bird chirping. It was more funny than anything, but talk about a mistake.
The special effects aren’t too shabby. They’re not great, but for a lower-budget picture, they’re serviceable. One woman gets a leg torn off and tries to crawl away in agony, and two poor brahs get torn apart, literally ripped in half, with organs and the like falling out of their torsos. It never looks as high quality as you’d hope, but hey, it’s something.
Jeff Denton makes for a fair lead, and has that somewhat austere yet likable cop attitude. Sarah Lieving (666: The Child) wasn’t really special, but the story did boost her character somewhat. Though it took a little while, Tom Nagel (who I am familiar with through Jolly Roger: Massacre at Cutter’s Cove and have also seen in 2006’s The Butcher), and his last scene is actually pretty good. Thomas Downey’s cryptozoologist character didn’t really add much in my view. And though Christina Rosenberg didn’t really have a lot to do her, she was still cute in those glasses, so wanted to give a shout-out.
At the end of the credits, after letting us know that no werewolves were harmed in the making of the film, it reads, “Why are you still reading this? Go back to the video store and rent another Asylum film. You know you want to.” And you know what? If every Asylum movie was like this, maybe I would.
The Beast of Bray Road isn’t great, but it was fun to see again. I enjoyed the conclusion, the twist was actually sort of surprising, and save a few errors and a hideous werewolf design, I don’t think the film is that bad. Below average, sure, but not that bad.
This is one of the films covered on Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss The Beast of Bray Road.