Sinister Screens

Scenic Route (2013) ★★★★

Scenic Route


There is no turning back.

Stranded on an isolated desert road, two life-long friends fight for survival as their already strained relationship spirals into knife-wielding madness.


Scenic Route begs the question: what makes a movie horror? While marketed as a drama/thriller, Scenic Route is actually a solid horror movie filed under the Natural Horror subgenre. Natural horror features man vs. nature battles. Man is the David and Nature the Goliath. Here, the desert is the true antagonist against two lifelong friends who face a breakdown with little help in sight. They must survive the grueling days of heat and frigid nights, fighting the unforgiving terrain, themselves and each other.

This movie showcases brilliantly the breakdown both physically and mentally when man is subjected to Mother Nature’s extremes. The toll alone is what drives the horror. It turns friends into violent enemies, but, more beautifully, it strips back all that constrains them in their everyday lives. Enter Josh Duhamel’s trademark mohawk that graces the film’s poster. Also, Dan Fogel’s (Carter’s) quote: “I gave you a mohawk, not a lobotomy!!!”

The ending to this movie is what truly sets it apart as being next level. Not going to spoil, but there’s two perceived endings to it. One which falls squarely under the drama classification, the other most definitely horror. Scenic Route might end differently depending on one’s outlook. This is a movie I’ve watched multiple times and will circle back to it from time to time. It epitomizes our universal struggle against the beautiful, but deadly nature we inhabit.

Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)

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