Clinton Road (2019)

When a firefighter’s wife mysteriously goes missing on an actual haunted road in rural New Jersey, he and his sister in law seek closure by employing a Haitian witch doctor to contact her spirit but are hunted by the entities of past victims looking to leave purgatory by collecting fresh souls.

Clinton Road is directed by Steve Stanulis and Richard Grieco (yes, the Richard Grieco who was on 21 Jump Street), which is probably why they were able to get all sorts of talent to show up in cameos, like Ice-T, who plays club owner RJ; Eric Roberts, who plays himself; Vincent Pastore who plays Ice-T’s partner; James DeBello (Cabin Fever, Detroit Rock City) and Bo Dietl (the only person I know who was in Maniac Cop 2 and Goodfellas).

The real Clinton Road is a desolate stretch of highway that has plenty of folklore about it. From gatherings of witches, devil worshippers and even the Ku Klux Klan to the ghosts of drowned boys, two park rangers, a ghost Camero (well, it is New Jersey), the Clinton Furnace smelted that was rumored to be a Druidic temple, a ghost truck, Cross Castle (which reveals Satanic symbols and bruises those that stay in it too long) and even the survivors of Jungle Habitat, a nearby attraction that closed in 1976, but has led to crossbred monkeys and hellhounds. Supposedly, none of the animal rumors are true, as the remaining creatures were sold when the park closed.

It’s also a place where the Mafia has left bodies for years, including the case of the Iceman. In May of 1983, a cyclist found his body and an autopsy soon discovered that ice crystals were still in the blood vessels near the heart, meaning that his organs decayed slower than his skin. The John Doe Iceman was finally identified as Daniel Deppner, a car thief. Finally, three years later, Richard Kuklinski confessed to the murder.

In short, Clinton Road seems like a nexus point for strangeness. The readers of Weird NJ even report people dressed in strange garb at all hours of the night. When they try to communicate with them, those people simply stare at them and disappear.

The movie Clinton Road starts in a loud nightclub that everyone wants to get into, including Eric Roberts in a brief cameo. He gets insulted by one of the girls up front and laughs it off. None of this has anything to do with the movie, unless Eric Roberts is also a ghost, which is an intriguing premise that I’m going to just go with.

Several of the people who will be the main characters in this film are introduced and they listen to Ice-T tell a story about when he had an incident on Clinton Road. He then yells at Vincent Pastore and doesn’t really show up much more. That’s fine — he got you in the door and did his job.

Michael (Ace Young) lost his wife Jessica a year ago on that infamous road. Now, a friend offers a way to get some closure: he and some friends will go back and basically do a seance. Along with his sister-in-law Isabella, Kayla and Tyler, they follow the medium Begory into the woods.

This is where the movie descends into characters having no dialogue other than screaming each other’s names for literally eight minutes straight. The sound mix is also really rough, particularly in the nightclub scenes. While the idea of all of the monsters of Clinton Road showing up is novel, you really need to study up on it before watching the film to get the full effect.

But hey — how many movies do you see where a guy is trying to give his date road head when a ghost girl shows up? I can think of only this one. Between that scene and the strange apparition that is Eric Roberts and Ice-T hamming it up and seemingly having a blast, there are some fun parts here.

You can catch this movie on ten screens nationally and on VOD June 14. For more information, check out the official Facebook page.

DISCLAIMER: We were sent this movie by its PR team but that has no impact on our review.

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