Zzyzx is one of the more interesting, low budget, horror films I have seen. Anybody who has ever taken the trip to the Las Vegas in a car or bus can relate to this film. The trick is you have to travel through the many hills and roads it takes to truly get the power of this film.
Lou and Ryan are taking a trip to Las Vegas. They take a detour along Zzyzx road and while doing that they see a man running. Lou tells Ryan that he is going to hit him, and whilst trying to stop Lou from hitting him, they end up running the man over. They take the man's body, put it in the back of the car and suddenly realize that they have been spotted by someone. They end up talking to this someone and it turns out her name is Candice and she's looking for her husband Manny (Kayo Zepeda; ie. The person they just hit). They drive her back to her motor-home and it soon becomes clear to Ryan that Lou has no intention of leaving her there alive. We then come to find out a lot about these characters. Lou is apparently suffering from the effects of having been a soldier in Iraq. Ryan spends a lot of time on the internet and Candice has some secrets of her own.
While I think Zzyzx ultimately set-up certain things up that it didn't pay off (ie. How did the lore of Zzyzx road play into the story? Why was Lou naked at the end of the film?), this movie is 80 minutes of non-stop characterizations. It is filled with a tension that really works for the characters, especially in the confined quarters with which this film takes place. One can only imagine what this shoot was actually like, but it really seems like our actors got their hands, feet and entire bodies dirty here. Also, the landscape of the real Zzyzx road is almost like another character. All I kept thinking about as I was watching this film was, "Doesn't anybody see what's going on?" Then I would realize, "No! They're in the middle of nowhere." This really plays into what its like driving out to Las Vegas because when you stare out the windows of whatever vehicle you might be in, I find that my mind wanders and I am filled with all manner of thoughts. Its as if its meant to be a wasteland for the inner recesses of your mind which is what Zzyzx feels like.
Kenny Johnson who plays Lou is clearly the best actor out of this bunch. Second, would be Robyn Cohen (Candice) and Ryan Fox (Ryan) comes in Third. It isn't that any of the acting is bad per se, its just that these characters all go over the top at various times. They all have their moments and its in those moments that I feel we understand just how much we believe these characters in this situation. In that regard, I think that Johnson does the best in pulling this off. Truthfully, they are all rather good and I was pretty impressed with how far it seems Director, Writer, Editor Richard Halpern took them. I also have to give Halpern credit for making this story so darn entertaining. When somebody wears as many hats as he did making this film, its pretty impressive that it seems like he didn't hold every little aspect of his movie sacred.
Zzyzx is coming out on DVD June 12 and will be available at Hollywood Video, Netflix, Amazon.com, as a TiVo download, major retailers and at www.zzmovie.com.