In case you were wondering, purgatory has its own FM station, 106.1, with a gravely voiced DJ who appropriately tells listeners, “Every road has to end somewhere, am I right?” He is. “The end” — at least as portrayed in this five-part compendium of interlocked horror tales — is a stretch of godforsaken California desert highway where anyone trying to outrun a past sins will soon find himself stuck in a bloody version of Groundhog Day.
Death toys with mortals, no matter what they do. Two men fleeing a revenge killing are stalked by skeletal avenging angels, and when they run out of luck, their misfortune is extended like contagion to a touring girl-band, one of whose members harbors a bad secret, after which we meet a scraggly and ill-fated rescuer in search of his long-lost sister who once he finds her is met with an annoyed confession — she rather enjoyed committing a series of family murders, she tells him, and, more to the point: “This place wants me and I love it here.” Goodbye, brother. Finally comes the stabbing of a family by men in Hollywood masks, which gives the original revenge killing and its aftermath its looping logic.
Directors Roxanne Benjamin, David Bruckner, Patrick Horvath and the Radio Silence ensemble have engineered a spooky circle game composed of haunting and bloodshed, some of it wonderfully chilling. Problem is, once purgatory makes its presence amply known there’s little to challenge either its dominion or its repetitive efforts to get even with human transgressors. Hell hath no fury like an American highway, five times over, with gusto.