What would happen if you killed someone in the middle of nowhere? Could you get away with it?On the way to a weekend in Las Vegas, this question is posed by Lou (Kenny Johnson,The Shield, Saving Grace) to his friend Ryan, ... more »as they explore Zzyzx Road, an enigmatic and dusty sidestreet off the beaten path with dark secrets of its own.As if possessed, Lou puts his challenge to the test in the most grizzly way possible - running over an innocent stranger - pulling himself into a tangled web of murder, meltdowns and double crosses when the dead man's wife Candice (Robyn Cohen, The Life Aquatic) appears out of nowhere under the searing hot desert sun.This value priced version of BURNED (previously Zzyzx) does not include special features.« less
"The title may strike many as odd. Here's some background. If you drive to Las Vegas from Los Angeles, a trip of about 240 miles, you will probably take interstate 15. When you are about 98 miles from Las Vegas, you will see an exit sign for Zzyzx Road. As far as you can tell from the highway, Zzyzx Road simply crosses the highway and disappears into the desert on either side and eventually into the mountains. There are no visible businesses on the road; it just goes off into who knows what. (Actually, in one direction, it heads to a desert research center, but that's a long trip.) Now, about the movie...
The film begins with a Mexican family that has stopped at the side of the highway to take a break from driving. Soon, it appears that the family has discovered a skeleton. The next thing we know, we are with Lou and Ryan, two guys on their way to Las Vegas who have apparently decided to see what lies on Zzyzx Road. (There is some mumbo-jumbo about a cult having been there at one point.) A man appears on the road, and the two hit and kill him accidentally. They put the body into the car and are about to make their escape when a woman appears wearing an "I [heart] Manny" T-shirt. Lou, demonstrating his sense of priorities, decides not to flee but to see what she wants because "She's hot."
As it turns out, the woman (Robyn Cohen, The Life Aquatic, The Celestine Prophecy) is looking for her husband. Apparently, she and Manny, newlyweds from Las Vegas, decided to investigate Zzyzx, too, and now their motor home has broken down. At this point, the characters begin to act very strangely, making it clear that there is more going on here than meets the eye.
"Zzyzx" is a taut thriller with some intelligence. Only gradually does it reveal itself, sometimes through equivocal flashbacks, and the plot does not fully come together until the end of the film. I don't know that I'd call the ending a twist per se, but it is a satisfying resolution that ties up the questions that arise during the film without being obvious half an hour before the end. The actors do a solid job, and the direction is excellent. Really, it is unfortunate that film today relegates thoughtful scripts such as this one to the realm of independents films while studios remake or rip off films of the past. This is not to say that "Zzyzx" is the best film ever made, but it is far better than most of the big-budget junk and definitely worth a view. This is the type of film The Hills Have Eyes might have been if it had been directed by David Lynch.
For parents: The film contains nudity, drug use, suggested violence, and simulated sex. "
A Well-Made Independent Movie with Major, Original Plot Twis
The Jaundiced Eye | Texas, USA | 07/27/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I rented this DVD with no prior knowledge of its story line, primarily due to Kenny Johnson's presence, and must admit that for the first ten minutes or so, thought I had made a major mistake. The opening scenes were jerky and confusing, typical of a low-budget flick, but everything changed the moment that the Candice (played by Robyn Cohen) character appears. She exudes a sweet, innocent, natural charm that is absolutely necessary for the incredible plot twists to work.
Other reviewers have commented on the irony of the claustrophobic atmosphere within the RV compared to the huge, open desert in the background. This atmosphere is as dramatic and oppressive as any I have experienced in any movie, including many with huge budgets, and it adds immeasurably to the suspense and horror of the proceedings. You are constantly on the edge of your seat waiting for the worst to happen, and (without revealing too much) it does. Indeed, I was completely duped by the plot twist. It is perfectly set up and (to me) completely unpredictable, despite the small clues that are sprinkled throughout the first hour or so. You slowly become aware that something is not right....but are not quite sure what it is. This haunting uncertaintly is a key feature in making this an above-average viewing experience.
Rent, buy, borrow or steal this DVD, and after viewing the movie, be sure to listen to the director's commentary version to get a really thorough overview of what you have just witnessed, how it was accomplished, and what you probably missed.
This is an excellent low-budget movie. Although some scenes are reminiscent of other movies (i.e. stranded RV in "The Hills Have Eyes", etc.) overall it is a thoroughly shocking, entertaining, and worthwhile experience."
It will mess with your mind!
The Jaundiced Eye | 03/02/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I saw this film at a festival and was totally blown away. I'm a big fan of Kenny Johnson from the TV show The Shield so I was very curious to see him in an actual movie. The movie was totally unpredictable, I was not sure where it was heading, but I was sucked in from the very beginning. It spooked the crap out of me! I like movies that have surprises and this one so did. Kenny was awesome, he plays this cool but kinda crazy guy whose taking this sorta nerdy Ryan character to Las Vegas. They stop off on Zzzyzxs road and stuff happens out there that I don't want to say cause it would spoil it. Trust me, don't read any comments that have spoilers. You'll really like the twists if you don't know their coming. When the ending came up I was totally floored and wanted to watch it again right away. I was there with a friend who is a big fan of Quentin Tarantino films and he loved it too. I'm so glad that this is finally coming out on DVD! I hope it'll have some good extras. I highly recommend this film, if you go out and rent it...you'll probably want to own it at some point!"
Good solid indie film
Kays Al-atrakchi | Los Angeles, CA | 08/08/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Zzyzx is a very intriguing film. Shot on a very tight budget, this movie seems to leverage its weaknesses and turn them into strenghts by using the shakey camera movement and ambience to create a sense of isolation and weird atmosphere. The story follows 3 unlikely characters who come together in the setting of the Vegas desert under circumnstances that get progressively worse and worse for all of them. It's a classic example of the situation where all hell has broken loose, and through the whole film the viewer is trying to figure out how the characters can manage to get out of there alive.
I'd recommend it to anyone who like weird, edgy indie films and who are looking for something that is decisively not mainstream."
Zzyzx is a great horror plot-twisted thriller!
Chase Perez | New York, NY | 08/06/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love suspense/thriller movies and I was very impressed with this one. ZZYZX is beautifully done in all aspects and takes you on an exciting ride from start to finish. It is a very gritty film and the camera work and setting give you a very desolate and isolated feeling that enhances the great performances given by the actors. The mystique of the road itself and the background of the compound/Zillers are great starting points for this romp in the desert. You are quickly caught up in the action and the characters and never see the twists and turns coming. There is enough sex, drugs and music to keep the pace up and you wanting more. The character of Lou, portrayed wonderfully by Kenneth Johnson (Lem, The Shield), is very dark and unsettling. I found this movie very enjoyable to watch and would recommend everyone find a way to see it. It is truly great. My only regret is that I was unable to see it in a theater. But for $1.99 download rental, what a steal!"