THE PASSAGE (2014)
aka LEMON TREE PASSAGE
Directed by David Campbell
A trio of American backpackers befriend local Australians whilst travelling through New South Wales. Sharing stories around the campfire, the Americans learn of a ghost of a dead motorcyclist, who was killed by speeding teenagers on Lemon Tree Passage, which haunts the road he was killed on. Legend has it that if you travel fast enough down the road, his ghost will appear as a bright, shining light. Eager to try it out for themselves, the group set off for the passage but their night of fun and frolics is soon about to change when one by one the group begin to disappear.
Ghostly horror THE PASSAGE starts off rather strong with the introduction of Maya and siblings Toby and Amelia sat lounging on a beach struggling to read a map. Their chance meeting with Aussies Sam and Oscar produces a wonderful sequence where the group are playing cricket on the beach which reminded me of the American football scene on the beach in Point Break. Sat around a campfire later that evening, all is set to change as they set their sights on discovering the Lemon Tree Passage ghost for themselves, unknowingly getting themselves involved with something they have no right messing with.
The first third of the movie builds up this idea of a biker ghost seeking revenge pretty well but by the time the second third begins, THE PASSAGE turns into just another ghost-horror cum possession movie, losing that initial spark that drew me in. The idea of the vengeful biker spirit is thrown out the window for something mediocre done a bazillion times before. There seems no rhyme or reason to why the events unfold as they do yet we’re made to feel as though we should both fear and sympathise with the severely pissed off spirit, but unfortunately we do neither. Even as each of the characters goes missing, it’s hard to actually give a damn with the film limping along with its sub-par plot, lacklustre characters and shadowesque “villain”.
Whilst there’s a couple of kills here and there, they’re nothing for horror fans to go mad over. Most of it is done off-camera and hardly anything to write home about as the film sluggishly attempts to build up tension and fear however unfortunately by this point my mind had wandered elsewhere.
THE PASSAGE is a generic ghost horror movie that fails to offer anything new for seasoned horror fans.