The Toll is a 2019 American Psychological Horror film written and directed by Leigh Whannell starring Elizabeth Debicki, Jack Lowden, Jake Weary, Jack O'Connell and Katie Findlay.
Distributed by The Lost Picturehouse the story follows a 1950's housewife Lily who wishing to escape her entrapping marriage and societal life winds up lost in the woods surrounding Old Hart Bridge. The plot is inspired by the legend of the Demonic Goatman's Bridge (Old Alton Bridge) a truss installation crossing between Copper Canyon and Denton, Texas.
1938 Black goat farmer Oscar Weatherton is accepted as a local Stanson County Village businessman despite the times' segregation through his farm provisions. He is nicknamed the Goatman by the villagers but a group of Klansmen capture from his remote home and take him to the Old Hart Bridge nearby, lynching him and immolating his corpse, before it falls to the river below, they look to see his flaming body make contact with the water but there is nothing. As a result of their fright from this the Klansmen travelled to his farm and slaughtered his wife, daughter and son, who are found the next day by local authorities, who bury the bodies outside in unmarked graves.
1958 stay at home housewife Rose awaits her barrister husband Michael to return from work, cooking and cleaning compulsively while hiding artwork she had been working in a stairwell closet. Michael at home after spotting small droplets of paint on the floorboards strikes Rose with a slap. After carefully painting on covering foundation for the mark Michael and her depart for his brother Lou's houseparty. There his battered and poorly concealed wife Marybelle talks to Rose on her dreams of escape, and life as a Texas housewife. As Rose mentions the collection of paintings being of scenery and the Old Hart Bridge (the only beautiful place she's been exposed to), Marybelle tells her that a demon with the visage of a man-goat apparently has claimed the life of men & women there, according to Lou who then publicly humiliates her.
Returning home that night a drunken Michael after being spurned by Rose sets fire to her paintings and forces her to bed. In the morning after she leaves for work Rose leaves the house to take in the sights of the Old Hart Bridge and it's surrounding woods. She contemplates jumping from the bridge but is approached by local shopkeeper Diane Laden: the only resident black shopkeep. She brings her back to her antique store which is in foreclosure and shares information about the origin of the story of the Demonic Goatman of Old Hart's Bridge. Diane's store window is then broken by a sudden brick.
Rose returns home and with an old map of the Old Hart Wilderness provided by Diane she plans to run away that night, calling Marybelle and informing her of her plan. Rose is able to drug her cooked dinner for Michael and escape, Marybelle attempts to leave while Lou is asleep, but he awakens and strikes her. Marybelle in retaliation clubs and kills him with the phone, before packing up and leaving. The two women take Michael's car and have the car stop at the bridge.
As they trek into the woods guided by the map police sirens are heard getting louder, Marybelle confesses to her murder of Lou who she begins to see a bloody, horrific manifestation of and then commits suicide, shooting herself in the head. As Rose takes the gun she finds herself back at the bridge all of a sudden. She finds the rope that lynched the Goatman hanging from the bridge and gets back in the car, attempting to start it. Walking on the dirt road to the Weatherton abandoned farm she is followed by a flaming figure which causes her to run, fall and be knocked unconscious. She awakens the next day in the woods, not far from the bridge and the car as a search party ahead cannot see or hear her. A demonic hand pulls away from a tree as she spots it in horror, it then becomes night again as Rose comes across Lou's corpse on the ground. Local wealthy widow and associate Jeanie Leingold is chased past Rose seeing her, despite the pursuing Klansmen, comprising of her husband and many of his friends in a drunken rage, attempt to rape her, she fights back preventing this and is subsequently stabbed to death by one's swiss army knife. The demonic Goatman appears unseen to the men and begins to chase Rose who falls into the river, now comprising of blood.
She washes ashore to another day and sees her damaged car being towed away, as well as Michael and Klansmen Harvey discuss Jeanie and Lou. Rose finally makes it to the Weatherton farm on foot and it becomes night once inside. She sees Oscar's wife, daughter and son who are killed by the 1938 Klansmen including Oscar's estranged brother Isaiah, who sold them out in return for his own safety, after his temporary banishment for the abuse of the goats. He himself was betrayed by the Klansmen, who killed him after, taking him out to the Goat shed and forcing him to molest a goat inside, Rose hears this from outside the shed and then sees Michael and his clan arrive at the bridge now suddenly appearing there. They have Diane captive and attempt to lynch her from the bridge, all apart from newly included member Lyle who opposes. The Goatman appears and causes spontaneous body combustion of all the Klansmen minus Lyle. A gunshot injured Lyle is helped by Rose who he can now see and claims she is dead. Rose then sees the broken down car again, which indicates Marybelle shot herself in the vehicle causing her to crash and perish. Michael and his Klansmen's fatal injuries are then confirmed to be shotgun issued from Lyle, Michael firing back and injuring him. Diane however takes him away not seeing Rose. The burning man extinguishes as Oscar leads Rose towards a sunlit path with Jeanie walking ahead of her, she looks back to see Jeanie walking miles ahead and back to see down a darkened path Michael and the clan being escorted by the Goatman towards Oblivion.
- Elizabeth Debicki as Rose Fairvale
- Jack Lowden as Michael Fairvale
- Jake Weary as Lou Fairvale
- Jack O'Connell as Lyle Workman
- Katie Findlay as Marybelle Fairvale
- Billy Porter as Oscar Weatherton
- Wood Harris as Isaiah Weatherton
- Cree Summer as Naomi Weatherton
- Laura Harrier as Isobel Weatherton
- Caleb McLaughlin as Toby Weatherton
- Kim Raver as Judy Workman
- Tichina Arnold as Diane Laden
- Max Martini as Roger Hodson
- Dominic Fumusa as Harvey Winfeld
- Meredith Monroe as Jeanie Leingold
- Colman Domingo as The Goatman