Film

Review: Navigating ‘Devil’s Path’

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First-time director Matthew Montgomery tackles a psychological thriller with his debut film “Devil’s Path,” opening today in Los Angeles, on DVD and VOD on March 5.

The story takes place in 1992 in a forest in California, where gay men cruise and engage in sexual acts. We quickly learn that several people have gone missing in the area, along a hiking trail called “Devil’s Path.”

The story primarily revolves around the characters of Noah, played by Stephen Twardokus, and Patrick, played by JD Salzo. The two men meet in the hiking area for the first time; Noah, an inexperienced “cruiser,” is fascinated by his new adventure and intrigued by Patrick, who is jaded and not particularly interested in Noah.

Despite the warning of a park ranger not to enter a section of the forest where men had gone missing, they continue on their path and find themselves in trouble. Suddenly two homophobic characters enter the picture, determined to hurt them. So Noah and Patrick run for their lives, while chased by the gay-bashers.

There is no exposition or explanation as to why the two characters are targeting the these men. Despite the vastness of the forest, two groups of men keep bumping into each-other, making it difficult to believe the narrative.

The story has several twists and surprises that make it almost engaging. However, one does not care much about either character as neither is particularly charismatic, lovable or even a well-written bad guy.

The best part of the film is that it addresses internalized homophobia, as well as mental illness. It especially handles the latter subject very well as it does not stigmatize it or make it a big deal.

Overall, the film lacks substance and is riddled with clichés and innuendos. A hard-to-believe storyline coupled with less than stellar acting, puts this film on my B movie list, at best.

Writer Vic Gerami is a regular contributor to Goweho.com.

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