Route 666 title

Tag line : On the road to hell, there's no turning back!

Route 666A group of Federal agents, lead by former Special Ops agent Jack la Roca (Lou Diamond Philips) and his partner Steph (Lori Petti) are transporting prisoner Fred Smith (Stephen Williams) across the Arizona desert along Route 66 to his court appearance in LA. But, unlike the old song, it seems the group won't be getting any kicks on this highway.

After a run in with a bunch of Mafia hitmen, who want Smith dead, the federal agents decide to take a cross country shortcut down a disused stretch of road, referred to locally as Route 666, to try and shake them off.

Unfortunately, the pursuing hitmen are the least of their worries. Ignoring the local legends about the area being cursed (never a good idea in a horror movie) the federal agents find themselves fighting a running battle against a group of crusty faced zombies wearing prison overalls, who come up out of the road.

Stranded in the middle of nowhere with no apparent way of stopping the creatures, which pop-up periodically to wreak murder and mayhem, they think help is at hand when the local sheriff manages to find them. But has he got other ideas?

For the most part, Route 666 proves to be quite an enjoyable action/road movie and certainly the zombie make-up, showing the creatures tar-seared features and dusty prison uniforms, proves to be extremely effective. Unfortunately, where the film is severely let down is its deliberate use of shaky camera work whenever the zombies are on screen, and the extremely cheap camera tricks employed showing them "materialising" out of thin air. Neither method does anything to enhance the film and simply makes the direction look inept.

Worth a watch, but not a masterpiece of zombie cinema by any means. Don't expect Lou Diamond Phillips to be singing "La Bamba" in this one either!

Overall marks : 4/10.

Terrifying Trivia.

  • Alternate tag lines "One way in, no way out", "Highway to Hell".

  • B-movie actor Dick Miller (Gremlins, Chopping Mall) has a small guest role as the bar tender during the opening scene.

  • The films budget was $2,300,000.

  • Steven Williams, who plays Fred, also starred in "Jason Goes to Hell" and cult TV series "The X-Files". The line where his character asks Jack and Steph if they'd like it if he nicknamed them "Mulder and Scully" was a jokey reference to the show.

  • Director William Wesley previously directed the semi-cult 1988 film "Scarecrows".

  • The director ran into some problems trying to secure permission to film in the Joshua Tree National Park of California as the area had been closed to filmmakers for over a decade. Apparently, one of the last film crews to shoot there decided to paint the Joshua trees bright green, so they showed up better on camera. Fortunately, the director managed to persuade them to let them use the location and the area is now open to filming again. Whilst he refused to divulge what the film was that caused the problems, a search on the IMDB reveals the last film shot there prior to this was Wes Craven's "Hills Have Eyes 2". Was it them? Who knows.

  • Steven Williams was originally cast as one of the other Federal Agents, but the actor they originally hired to play the role of Fred Smith was fired prior to shooting, so they asked him to switch roles and hired Dale Midkiff to fill in the vacant slot.

  • The German DVD was cut prior to release in order to get a "Not Under 18" rating.

  • There actually used to be a highway named Route 666, though not the one featured in this film. Nicknamed "The Devil's Highway" it originally ran from Arizona to Colorado. However, the Arizona stretch became part of US Route 191 in 1993, the remaining stretch was renumbered Route 491 in 2003 after New Mexico state governor Bill Richardson campaigned to have it reassigned.

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