THE TOLL is a new horror-thriller that you’ll definitely want to check out. With its 80-minute runtime, this is a horror treat that works on every level. We honor this with the first top-rating for a movie in 2021. Read our full The Toll horror movie review here!
THE TOLL is a new horror-thriller that we enjoyed so much while watching it that we ultimately started fearing when it would make a wrong turn. Well, it never did. Instead, it kept adding layers and details that improved the movie-watching experience.
In fact, we enjoyed it so much that it’s the first movie of 2021 that we bestow the coveted top rating on. I have to specify “movie” since we did just give a top rating to the Apple TV Plus series Calls by Fede Alvarez. In other words, the feature film debuting director of The Toll is in very good company here on Heaven of Horror.
You might like: Our season 1 review of the Apple TV+ series Calls here >
Continue reading our The Toll horror movie review below and watch it as soon as you can.
Pay the Toll Man
On the surface, The Toll does have a very simple plot. A male Uber (or Uber-like) driver is out on a very long drive to a remote area with his female passenger in the middle of the night. She is clearly uncomfortable and he is – quite frankly – acting very odd. This results in a very awkward drive which feels very realistic in many all-too-familiar ways.
Then the supernatural element comes along, but it doesn’t feel very supernatural at first. Instead, it feels like a very human outside force is f**king with them. Obviously, this means the two strangers are forced to trust one another. Even if this also takes some time.
Finally, it becomes obvious that something supernatural is in fact happening and they’re trapped in a twilight zone of some sort. They’ve been given the message that they need to “pay the toll man” and, apparently, he wants someone to die. This is the basic premise and I won’t spoil anything for you.
The ending of The Toll **Spoiler-free**
I will, however, say this; I loved the ending of The Toll. Not only the actual ending of the movie but the events leading up to this. It was both surprising and an obvious evolution. And yet, it was done so elegantly that it just hit all the right spots for me! Mostly the “Damn, I knew it!” and also the “WTF?!” spots.
The perfect tiny cast
Given the nature of the story in this movie, the cast is very small. Also, a lot of the story takes place either inside a car or in a forest. It all feels very familiar and yet both places are scary as hell and safe at different points in time. In all its simplicity, the storyline and the setting along with the cast just come together effortlessly.
The two absolute stars of The Toll are Jordan Hayes as Cami, the passenger, and Max Topplin as Spencer, the driver. Both actors are also producers of the movie. You might know Jordan Hayes from the SyFy horror-mystery series Helix while Max Topplin has been in several episodes of both the Suits and the Insomnia TV series.
You will also see other actors in smaller roles and I have to highlight Rosemary Dunsmore. Both because I really like her and because her character is key to explaining the plot – both in the beginning and at the very end. If you’ve watched the sci-fi series Orphan Black (which I personally loved), then you’ll probably recognize Rosemary Dunsmore from that.
Watch The Toll horror movie as soon as possible!
Michael Nader is the writer and director of The Toll which is his debut feature film. No pressure, Michael Nader, but you’ve set the bar extremely high for yourself on your first movie. Starting in 2009, Michael Nader has also written and directed 10 short films, so he is already quite an experienced filmmaker.
Also, he co-wrote two feature films prior to writing and directing this one. Most recently, the 2018 horror-mystery Head Count, which was directed by co-writer Elle Callahan (Witch Hunt). We also reviewed Head Count and loved the plot and simplicity but felt it needed a tighter runtime. With The Toll, we got a solid plot, wonderful simplicity, and a perfect runtime.
Both Michael Nader and Elle Callahan seem to have followed up their joint effort with awesome solo projects. Elle Callahan just had her new movie Witch Hunt (2021) premiere at the SXSW Film Festival 2021, which we are very eager to watch as well.
When I say you should watch The Toll horror movie as soon as you can, it’s both because it’s an excellent horror movie and to show support. This is the kind of movie and talent we crave, so whenever we see something that shows so much promise (and delivers on it), we want to encourage everyone to support it.
THE TOLL opens In Theaters, On Demand, and Digital on Friday, March 26, 2021.
Writer/Director: Michael Nader
Stars: Jordan Hayes, Max Topplin, James McGowan, Rosemary Dunsmore
Supernatural terror and spine-tingling suspense highlight this gripping journey into fear. When Cami orders a taxi service to take her to her father’s country home, she’s hoping for a quiet and uneventful ride. But a wrong turn by Spencer, her chatty driver, results in the car stalling on a dark and remote road. After several threatening and inexplicable occurrences, Cami and Spencer realize they are being watched—by an unseen presence that sees them as trespassers, and is ready to exact a deadly toll.