Horror fans always have a bevvy of content to choose from at any given moment, and that’s become especially true in the age of streaming, with virtually every platform offering up a buffet of classics, cult favorites, infamous disasters, and unsung hidden gems.
Michael Nader’s The Toll falls firmly into the latter category, after winning positive notices following a premiere at 2020’s Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival in Korea. Despite gathering strong buzz right out of the gate, the supernatural thriller didn’t score a domestic release on VOD until March 2021, and even then it didn’t make many waves.
However, it’s now become a major success story on streaming per FlixPatrol, with The Toll currently ranking as the number three title on HBO Max’s global most-watched list, by virtue of cracking the Top 10 in 20 different countries. If you’re an enthusiast of intriguing high concept chillers that maximize their minuscule budgets, then this could be the film for you.
The plot follows a rideshare driver and his passenger, who are traveling through the wilderness when the car breaks down. While trying to remedy the unfortunate situation, they find themselves being hunted by a sinister being known as the Toll Man, with the locals happily informing them of the nefarious spirit who haunts the quiet forest roads.
Nader doesn’t just direct, either, he also co-wrote the script, served as a producer, and edited The Toll. He’s clearly a filmmaking talent on the rise, then, based on an accomplished first feature that manages to put a fresh spin or two on a setup, story, and formula that any self-respecting horror fan will have seen at least ten times already.