One of my most recent reviews was of the John Carpenter flick Christine. Based on the novel by the prolific Stephen King, Christine told the story of a car that is seemingly possessed by some supernatural entity. There was plenty of terror on the streets to be had here, but what happens when you take away the supernatural aspect and place a real person behind the wheel of a vehicle and he is the one who decides to cause some scares on the road? That’s exactly what occurs in Michael Bafaro’s Wrecker.
Emily (Anna Hutchison, The Cabin in the Woods) and Leslie (Andrea Whitburn) are hitting the road for a little time away. Leslie is trying her hardest to get Emily’s mind off of her [possibly] cheating boyfriend, but nothing seems to be working… until a mysterious tow-truck driver begins to terrorize the girls, that is. Now, in a game of cat and mouse, Emily and Leslie must do whatever it takes to get away from the madman trucker.
From its trailer, Wrecker looks like a pretty kick-ass film. With promises of what looks to be heart-pounding chases and fast-paced action, I was actually really excited to get into this one. Unfortunately, my excitement was met with repetitive back and forth pursuits and a script that has its characters all over the place.
Featuring a tiny cast is always a tricky thing, I feel. Either your audience is going to get sick of the same one or two people being on screen the entire time, or the character(s) really is enthralling enough to hold their attention throughout the film’s entirety. Luckily, with Wrecker, I had no problem watching Hutchison or Whitburn for the flick’s full 83 minutes, but I did have some gripes with the way their characters were presented.
I understand that characters are meant to go through some sort of transformation in films; It is necessary to tell a story, of course. I have never seen this many ‘transformations,’ however. With a confusing progression, we see Leslie being the hard-ass and Emily being the shy girl who gets stepped all over, Leslie starting to lose her cool and Emily calming her down, both of the girls freaking out beyond control, Emily going psycho on an innocent trucker in a cafe, Leslie going back to being the hard-ass chasing down the terrorizing truck driver, and so on and so forth. There is no need to have the girls go through this many emotions. It is much simpler and, in my opinion, effective to simply show a much more linear progression, as opposed to our main characters being all over the place.
A film like Wrecker, a ‘road rage’ film, if you will, is meant to have tons of car chases and fast-paced action, but there is a problem when it seems downright redundant. How many times do I have to see the girls chase the trucker, then the trucker chase the girls? They switch roles constantly and at a certain point, it gets to be too much. Games of cat and mouse are often like this, but I never seemed to have a problem with it before now. There needed to be some sort of way to break this up a tiny bit that we just didn’t get to see.
I am usually not one to argue with the way films present facts or try to debate with what is “not real enough,” but with a film that is actually pretty feasible, it seems hard to not argue just a bit. I admittedly know nothing about cars, but wouldn’t it be hard for an 8000 pound tow tuck to keep up with a 3700 pound ‘muscle car?’ Would the Mustang GT not leave the behemoth of a truck [that was also pulling another vehicle behind it, adding even more weight] in the dust in a matter of seconds?
Facts and level of realism aside, Wrecker just seems to fall short. The characters are all over the place, the action is too repetitive, and there isn’t really any back story or closure regarding the antagonist. I would have loved to learn his motive, but sadly, we get no information about him other than the fact that he has an upside-down cross and a pentagram hanging from his rearview mirror.
If you’re a fan of road horror flicks, give this one a shot and let me know if you agree or disagree with what I’ve had to say. Wrecker is available now on DVD from XLrator Media.
I give this one 2 telephone booths out of 5.