Incident On and Off a Mountain Road Recap

A woman, Ellen, is driving through the night along a mountain road in Oregon. She passes a sign warning no gas or services for the next 75 miles, and is adjusting her radio when she comes to an abandoned car on the road. Ellen hits the brakes but still hits the car and skids to a halt.

In the past, Ellen and her husband-to-be Bruce are having lunch at an eatery. He talks about how he’s learned to roll with the punches, and that he believes anything can happen to anyone at anytime. Bruce says that everything is going to hell, and then apologizes for getting worked up over it. Ellen suggests that they go somewhere, and Bruce takes Ellen to his cabin in the woods. It’s raining, and Bruce tells Ellen that she looks good. He kisses her and they go inside and have sex on the couch.

Ellen wakes up after the crash and looks around. Her car doesn’t start and her phone doesn’t get a signal. She gets a flashlight, gets out, and goes over to the other car. There’s no sign of anyone around, but there’s blood on the streets and a trail leading away. Ellen follows it to the railing and sees someone moving down below. She trains her light on the figure and realizes that he’s dragging someone: a young woman. She calls her help, and the figure removes his hat to reveal a pale white-faced man. He draws a knife and snarls, slashing at Ellen.

Ellen drops her phone and crawls back, and Moonface leaps over the railing. She leaps over the railing and rolls down the slope, and runs into the forest. Moonface chases her and Ellen hides behind a tree.

As Ellen and Bruce jog, Bruce talks about how people have to deal with wackos by being as crazy as they are. He tells her to always do the unexpected, and to fight with whatever is available. They’re jogging over a suspension bridge in the wilderness, and Bruce points out the weapons are at hand. Laughing, Ellen jogs off and Bruce chases after her. He finally tackles her after a moment she tells him to let her up. He finally does so, and Bruce says that it’s time to do the unexpected. He takes out an engagement ring and gives it to Ellen.

As Moonface comes along, Ellen remembers Bruce’s advice to do the unexpected. She grabs her purse from the ground and runs, but comes to a deadfall blocking the path. Moonface throws his knife at her, hitting a stump near her head, and Ellen crawls through the deadfall before Moonface can catch her. He recovers his knife and crawls after her, and manages to grab her ankle. Ellen kicks him in the face and keeps crawling, emerging out the other side. She breaks off a branch and takes a pair of nail scissors from her purse. As Moonface recovers, Ellen rigs the branch with the scissors and pulls it back, creating a makeshift trap. He crawls out, hitting the trap, and the branch plunges the scissors into his head. Ellen hears Moonface’s scream and keeps running. She comes to a pit and stops.

After they get married, Bruce trains Ellen how to shoot. She does well but not as well as him. She suggests that they go to town for dinner, but Bruce grabs a gun and scores a half-dozen vital shots first. Later at the cabin, Bruce checks his guns. Ellen asks if he’s going to get together with his survivalist “freaks” again, and he says that he’s going to ignore it. She complains that he sold their house in the city, and Bruce says that when the Big One falls, they’ll be safe while everyone in the city is fighting for survival. He goes and Ellen looks at photos of the two of them on their wedding day... and Bruce with his survivalist buddies.

Ellen plants a sharpened stick in the pit and covers it over with brush. She rips the elastic from her panties and creates a crude crossbow with a nail file tied to a stick as the bolt. The woman emerges from the woods, her hands tied in front of her. She falls into the pit before Ellen can stop her, and the stick goes through her leg. Moonface comes up behind Ellen and grabs her by the throat, but he backs up and hits the tripwire... and the nail file hits Ellen in the shoulder. She pulls it out while Moonface realizes that she set a trap for her. Ellen staggers off into the darkness, and Moonface looks down on the woman in the pit. He then motions at the screaming woman to be quiet, making a hushing sound.

Ellen runs through the darkness and comes to a crucified corpse, long dead. There are others along the path, which leads to a cabin. Ellen runs to the cabin and finds another corpse seated in a rocking chair on the porch. Behind the cabin is a cliff with a river far below. Ellen sees Moonface approaching, dragging the woman, and Ellen faints.

Bruce and Ellen go to Bruce’s cabin, and she says that he’s weak. He wants to make her strong and knows that she has the potential, and says that he won’t let her prove him wrong. Bruce hands her his knife and tells her to show him what she’s got. She finally takes it and tries to twirl it, but drops it. Her husband dismisses her as pathetic and tells her to pick it up while keeping her eyes on him at all times. Ellen does so and tries to trip him, and then comes at him with the knife. Bruce easily subdues her and tells her to try again. She manages to cut him, and he tells her to give him the knife. Ellen cuts his hand when he reaches for it, and says that she’s leaving him. She hands him the knife, and Bruce says that he’ll survive and walks off.

When Ellen wakes up, she finds herself handcuffed to a pole in the cabin’s basement. There are corpses surrounding her, and the wounded woman is lying nearby, unconscious. One of the “corpses” gasps for breath and complains how messy the place is. He sees Ellen and introduces himself as Buddy, He talks about how Moonface has a backlog, and asks if she has candy. Ellen stares at him, and Buddy says that Moonface must really like the two women since he didn’t kill them. When Ellen asks where she is, Buddy says that she’s come home and he’s been waiting for someone to come. The old man tells her that he used to call the killer Moonface until Moonface though that he was mocking him. Ellen realizes that Moonface cut out all of his victim’s eyes, and Buddy warns her that their usually the first things that Moonface takes. He figures Moonface is out dumping her car.

Ellen offers to call for help on her phone if Buddy helps her escape. He shows her his own handcuffs, just as Moonface enters the cabin above and comes down. He stares at Ellen for a moment, and then turns on a generator. Police sirens go off and the lights reveal a table drill. Moonface puts the woman on it , straps her down, and she wakes up. As Ellen stares in horror, Moonface uses a drill to take the screaming woman’s eye out. After a moment he raises the drill and shuts off the generator.

Later, Moonface ties the woman’s corpse to a crucifix. Ellen calls him a sick fuck, and Moonface hushes her before going out with his new trophy. Buddy starts rambling again, suggesting that they sing, and Ellen yells at him to shut up. She warns that Moonface will kill them, insisting that there must be a way to get out. Buddy tells her to look over her shoulder, and Ellen sees the nail file still embedded there. After a moment she grabs it with her teeth and pulls it out as Buddy whispers encouragement to her. Once Ellen has it, she uses the file to pick her handcuffs and free herself. Buddy laughs in triumphant, reveals that his own handcuffs are unlocked, and gets up, laughing. He then yells to Moonface, saying that Ellen is loose.

Moonface comes down and Buddy starts dancing. Ellen grabs a two-by-four and hits the killer. She hits Buddy when he doesn’t shut up. Moonface grabs her and slams her against the post, choking her with the two-by-four. Ellen manages to grab the nail file and rams it into Moonface’s stomach, and she then runs up the cellar stairs and slams the door behind her.

The cabin holds a baby carriage with a small skeletal corpse in it, and Ellen is unable to open the front door. As she heads for the window, Moonface opens the trap door and grabs her ankle, tripping her. Ellen kicks him in the face and goes to the window, and discovers that it faces out on the cliff. Moonface grabs a hatchet and Ellen feints for his knife on the floor. When the killer moves to block her, Ellen grabs the baby skeleton and slams it into his face. She then grabs the knife, twirls it like Bruce taught her, and drives it into Moonface’s shoulder. She then trips him and stabs him in the back, and brings the blade into his chest. Finally she kicks him out the window.

Moonface manages to grab a sheet from the bed as he falls. He dangles above the water far below and starts pulling himself up. The sheet starts to break, and Ellen says that it’s a hell of a night. She turns as the sheet parts, and Moonface falls into the water fall below.

Ellen finds a revolver and loads it, and finds a belt to hold it at her waist. She looks around and finds several pairs of boots, and pouts on a pair that fit. Ellen then finds a crowbar and pries the front door open, and finds her car on the road. She jumpstarts the engine and then opens the trunk. Bruce’s corpse is inside.

Bruce throws Ellen across the cabin and calls her a whore. He slaps her repeatedly and ties her hands in front of her with his belt, and then rapes her. Once he’s done, Bruce turns to walk away... and Ellen strangles him to death with the belt, screaming that she hates him as she slams his head into the floor..

Ellen takes Bruce’s corpse to Moonface’s cabin and down into the cellar. She straps the body to the table and turns on the drill. As the tied up Buddy watches, Ellen calmly drills out Bruce’s eye. She then takes releases Buddy and takes Bruce’s corpse out. She strings it up as the old man looks on in satisfaction. A smiling Ellen says that Bruce is the newest member of the family and Buddy can call him “Uncle Brucie.” She admits that it was all of Bruce’s hard work and determination that got her out of there. Buddy says that she’s sorry for Ellen, and Ellen takes out a gun. When Buddy protests, Ellen makes a shshhing noise and shoots him dead before putting Bruce’s corpse out with the others.

The next day, Ellen drives away.

Written by Gadfly on Aug 21, 2016