Review: Navigating ‘Devil’s Path’

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First-time director Matthew Montgomery tackles a psychological thriller with his debut film “Devil’s Path,” opening today in Los Angeles, on DVD and VOD on March 5.

The story takes place in 1992 in a forest in California, where gay men cruise and engage in sexual acts. We quickly learn that several people have gone missing in the area, along a hiking trail called “Devil’s Path.”

The story primarily revolves around the characters of Noah, played by Stephen Twardokus, and Patrick, played by JD Salzo. The two men meet in the hiking area for the first time; Noah, an inexperienced “cruiser,” is fascinated by his new adventure and intrigued by Patrick, who is jaded and not particularly interested in Noah.

Despite the warning of a park ranger not to enter a section of the forest where men had gone missing, they continue on their path and find themselves in trouble. Suddenly two homophobic characters enter the picture, determined to hurt them. So Noah and Patrick run for their lives, while chased by the gay-bashers.

There is no exposition or explanation as to why the two characters are targeting the these men. Despite the vastness of the forest, two groups of men keep bumping into each-other, making it difficult to believe the narrative.

The story has several twists and surprises that make it almost engaging. However, one does not care much about either character as neither is particularly charismatic, lovable or even a well-written bad guy.

The best part of the film is that it addresses internalized homophobia, as well as mental illness. It especially handles the latter subject very well as it does not stigmatize it or make it a big deal.

Overall, the film lacks substance and is riddled with clichés and innuendos. A hard-to-believe storyline coupled with less than stellar acting, puts this film on my B movie list, at best.

Vic Gerami is an award-winning journalist and editor & publisher of The Blunt Post. Gerami is also the host and co-producer of the national headline news & politics program, THE BLUNT POST with VIC on KPFK 90.7 FM (Pacifica Network). The Wall Street Journal featured Gerami as a “leading gay activist” in its landmark 2008 coverage of opposition to Proposition 8, the ballot measure that for years denied same-sex couples in California the freedom to marry. In addition to his years of volunteer work as a leading advocate for marriage equality, Gerami served as a Planning Committee member for the historic Resist March in 2017. In 2015, Gerami was referenced in the landmark Supreme Court civil rights case, Obergefell v. Hodges, in which the Court held in a 5–4 decision that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples by both the Due Process and the Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

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