“Everyone must pay the toll man.” Well, that is exactly true if you live in a major metropolitan city but with this movie, paying doesn’t come in the form of coins, easy pay or even cash or card; something else is needed instead. The Toll is a unique horror film that combines an interesting premise with the mysterious world of the supernatural and the result is somewhat of a mixed bad. While the movie starts out with true suspense, the ending does leave much to be desired.
The film follows two individuals who meet at the airport. Cami (Jordan Hayes) has had a not so pleasant flight and her taxi driver (perhaps Uber, though the film doesn’t specifically mentions a name) named Spencer (Max Topplin) tends to chat a bit too much for her. Cami is on her way to see her father and the trip to her father’s home from the airport is quite a ways away. Over an hour to be more precise. Cami is obviously tired and exhausted and just wants a quiet ride home while Spencer is showing signs of boredom and maybe even a bit socially awkward. The drive takes them in the countryside where the streets lights are far and in-between and wouldn’t you know it Spencer’s car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. No cell phone service, no help and they are both alone.
Things start to become even stranger when the phones themselves cease to work at all and all electronic equipment is also disabled except for the car battery which seems to work just fine. Cami deduces that they can’t simply stay where they are and decides to go on foot to find some help. Walking in a straight line on the path, she ends up walking in a circle all the way back to the car! Wait, a minute. How is that possible?
Questions start pondering in the characters minds and Spencer is convinced that something or someone is outside the car watching them! What ends up happening is a series of jump scares, unexplained phenomena and even hints are other movies of this genre involving the supernatural. The first to come to mind is 1408, but this movie pales in comparison. It’s revealed that a supernatural entity is awaiting these characters and wants them to pay a toll-the toll being blood; someone has to die. It’s a scary thought and the characters learn that something is indeed waiting for them in these dark woods. Writer and Director Michael Nader opens the film with flair and suspense but as the movie goes on, we are left wondering exactly what is going on. The revelations are unique but the payoff is nothing short of a disappointment.
Score: 2 out of 5 Stars
The Toll is a well-intentioned movie that features two strong lead actors who work well together. I do think the script derails, especially in the third act which I was hoping would be more involving. In truth, there isn’t much to say about The Toll. It isn’t really anything special and the movie relies too heavily on jump scares to be effective which is becoming a tired cliche in the horror genre. In you’re a die hard horror fan, then this movie could work for a midnight viewing but for everyone else, you’re better off seeking something else.