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By Merle Bertrand | July 24, 2001

When one watches a cheesy horror movie, the immediate — always futile — instinct is to shout at the dumbass fleeing damsel in distress to not run into the attic where certain demise awaits. Similar sentiments come to mind when small town Sheriff’s Deputies Booth Parker (Kyle MacLaughlin) and Earl Whitney (Wade Andrew Williams) come across a car trunk full of cash…surrounded by half a dozen or so bloody corpses; the obvious victims of a zero-sum shoot-out. Like that hapless slasher victim, the boys talk themselves into a scheme to abscond with the loot before calling in the crime. Things almost immediately begin to unravel, as they always do, when they realize that one of the victims isn’t quite dead yet. Earl, starting his downward spiral a step earlier than his squeaky-clean partner, helps the gurgling scumbag along a bit…only to discover after the fact that the near-survivor turned murder victim was, in fact, an undercover DEA agent. And that he was wired for sound.
Director David Mackay has crafted a nifty little thriller in “Route 9”; one that branches off and winds around in a number of different directions. Unfortunately for Booth and Earl, all those directions point downwards. Subplots abound; from Booth’s affair with Sheriff Dwayne Hogan’s (Peter Coyote) sultry wife Sally (Amy Locane) to the complicating involvement of coroner Jesse Segundo (Miguel Sandoval) into the boy’s ill-conceived scheme.
There’s nothing very subtle about “Route 9”; nothing particularly original or revolutionary. Instead, the film is a solid, well conceived and executed crime drama. Slickly photographed and featuring a cast of seasoned professionals who, even though they were probably just earning a paycheck, at least look damn good doing it, this step above workmanlike film hits the spot like a rib-stickin’ meat and potatoes dinner.

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