Genre cinema is full of nightmarish visions. Whether that’s witches, ghouls, vampires, werewolves, aliens, ancient gods or just about every monstrous creature the brain can possibly devise. Indeed, whilst folklore, myths and legends hold their own dread, there’s nothing which can rival the human imagination when it comes to conjuring up terror. This is a concept that is explored in Michael Nader’s new film, The Toll.
It’s the early hours of the morning and taxi driver Spencer (Max Topplin) is looking for a client who might not kill him. Cami (Jordan Hayes) seems to fit the bill. She’s just flown in and wants nothing more than to get to her father’s country home and sleep. With a long journey ahead, any attempts at conversation are rebuffed. They both settle in for a long drive until he takes a wrong turn; ending up in their own worst nightmares.
The Toll plays with a number of ideas and concepts to create a film which is both inventive and chillingly atmospheric. The idea of a ‘toll man’ has been a subject of countless works of literature. It works well here, adding an extra dimension to the relationship between the two leads. Having said that, there is a lot of unexplored territory which is merely touched-upon and it does feel like there’s just too many disparate elements at play. Nevertheless, The Toll is a creepy and unnerving horror which will unsettle and startle in equal measure.
The Toll is in US Theatres, On Demand and on Digital on 26 March.