Picture yourself in this situation: You’re a young graduate student, driving through New Mexico on the way to your new school. You’ve been hearing news reports about a massive search underway for a local girl gone missing. The guy who just helped fill your gas tank is creepy enough to make you wonder if he has anything to do with the grim story on the radio. As you approach an old, beat-up van on the road, you see a hand scrabbling at the window, frantically trying to peel away whatever has the glass blacked out. With one great wrench, the hand clears a large spot away, and the bloodied, bruised, gagged face of a young woman stares back at you, desperately imploring you for help.
What would you do as your exit approaches? Would you choose not to get involved and continue to your destination, knowing that this girl could very well be the one everyone is looking for? Would you sentence her to death that way, or would you choose to do something, even though you have no idea what it would be?
This is the situation the protagonist in “Thanatos Road” finds herself in. As the story progresses, her situation becomes more and more intense, building to a thoroughly satisfying climax that, while providing a serious twist to the story, doesn’t feel like a betrayal. Kishel’s skilled direction balance story with character and atmosphere, finding ways to keep the audience uneasy throughout the production (the Key Lime pie is particularly effective). This film provides an original spin on the serial killer motif and proves its director to be a talented individual. Horror buffs would do well to keep an eye out for this guy in the future.