Toll Booth Short Horror Film Review by Zobo With A Shotgun
Have you ever been to a toll booth before? I’m more than certain you have, and can re-imagine a picture of exactly what that toll booth looks like; they tend to be in the middle of the motorway with options for cash or card, manned during the day, and very unthreatening during the night. Director and writer Martin Stocks has completely changed that perception of a toll booth and created a short horror film that explores the terrors that could arise if a toll booth were situated in a remote and desolated place with no-one to hear your screams.
When Terry takes a new job manning the night-shift for the toll booth that charges £1 per car, it seems he might have just landed the easiest yet most boring job in the world. Upon arrival, Terry meets the “friendly” Phil, who clearly couldn’t give a shit about anything, and isn’t going to give Terry any introductions into what he needs to do on the first night of the job. During the course of the evening, Terry hears rumours about the previous employee being murdered, kidnapped and more, which soon starts to transform from small village gossip into something more real.
From the start of Toll Booth it’s clear that this wasn’t a short film that was produced quick and dirty – the look is clean, and well-made with a beautiful sound design. One aspect that always seems to get overlooked when it comes to independent film is the sound design; with many shorts leaving the audience struggling to hear the dialogue over the background music, and badly created sound effects. From the crashing of the waves in the distance, to the subtle snapping of twigs in the forest, every sound is perfected for the most minuscule detail. Paired with an 80s throwback soundtrack, which helps to gradually build the subtle sense of suspense that makes Toll Booth what is it.
With humour lurking in the right corners of the booth, a realistic performance from Andrew Shire as Terry and an assortment of awkward, uncomfortable and annoying country-bumpkin characters; Toll Booth doesn’t give the audience a moment where we’re not thinking about what horrors are waiting around the corner. This short horror film delivers in terms of production, sound, story and cast – highly recommended for those who love snappy shorts, and independent films.