“At the end of the day, everyone pays…
Toll is a 2020 Canadian horror film about a carpool driver and passenger who are haunted by a supernatural force.
Written and directed by Michael Nader, 4 AM Films-Always Hungry Productions starring Jordan Hayes, Max Toplin, James McGowan.
It’s one o’clock in the morning. An exhausted Cami (Jordan Hayes) reserves a rental car at the airport. Her driver: Spencer (Max Toplin), awkward and anxious. His destination: his father’s house in the middle of nowhere. Cami becomes increasingly suspicious of Spencer’s strange behavior. This fear gives way to sheer terror when his car breaks down on a lonely road.
And both realize they are not alone – suddenly the car is attacked – a stone breaks the window. Has a message that says visitors should “pay the fee.” Cami and Spencer realize that they are being stalked by a supernatural force: the Tollman, who is turning the two strangers against each other. Until they discover that to survive, one of them must die…. ….
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“Toll” attempts to create a new subgenre of horror, with mixed results. Although he presents spectacular and terrifying visuals and two interesting leads, he cannot overcome the flaws of his script, which too often tries to undermine the viewer’s intelligence. Nader’s short 80 minutes and his skills as a director are enough to warrant a small recommendation, but you shouldn’t feel obligated to pay for it.” Disgusting.
It had a much more lasting effect on me as a viewer than the cheap, short-lived thrill that most horror films offer. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with having a good fear of jumping, but I didn’t think this film should have relied on that alone. Instead, the horror is built by the tension created by our two main characters and the horrific circumstances they find themselves in. All in all, “Toll” is a smart horror film with endless twists and turns”. Nightmare Conjunctions
“…has his influences listed, and even mentions a few by name, from The Strangers to the Blair Witch Project to various works by Stanley Kubrick. All of these influences lead to this “everything and the sink” approach that somehow goes beyond the final act, but the first two reels, the great set and the overall love of the genre that goes into every scene lead to its overall success.” RogerEbert.com
“Nader avoids the excesses of CGI and deceptive editing, and keeps things simple because he knows that well-placed scary music (followed by the reveal of its source) and a combination of appropriate lighting effects over scary makeup and costumes can be creepy; kudos to cinematographer Jordan Kennington for his always scary images. And he relies on both of his lead actors, as Hayes and Toplin […] skillfully manage to arouse our sympathy and sometimes our suspicion, as their characters’ situations constantly change. Rue de la Morgue
“Jordan Hayes and Max Toplin are tense and nervous, and Nader, making his first film, comes up with some cinematic tricks, like the blinding backlight that creates a hell of a neon light, or the way Spencer keeps reaching for the eye drops. But when he picks up a crossbow and a metal arrow, the film goes back to basics. Toll is a standard postcard film, sometimes fierce but too impatient to accept the illogical as nightmare language.” Variety
The actors and characters:
Jordan Hayes … CamiMax Toplin… SpencerJames
McGowan… Neil Rosmarie Dunsmore… Lorraine Jess
Brown… Cynthia Sarah
L… Colford… Weston-Daniel Harrock… ManPlataPamela
McDonald… The death of CamiCatelyn
Shayna Silver-Baird… Magda Shan
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