Film Review: Wrecker

Pitched somewhere between 'Duel' and 'Joyride,' this motor-psycho picture fails to stake out new territory or ring any significant changes on a decades-old formula.
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Weed-smoking, tequila-swilling pop tarts Emily (Anna Hutchison) and Leslie (Andrea Whitburn)—respectively the nice blonde whose boyfriend cheated on her and the slutty brunette—are on the road ominously dubbed "Devil's Pass" in a candy-apple-red V8 Mustang when they have the misfortune to cross paths with a big bad tow-truck that might as well have "Hell on Wheels" painted on its side.

The girls are in the middle of no-cell-service nowhere–which in and of itself is enough to freak two thoroughly modern girls the hell out–and that ol' road-hogging rig they're forced to share the road with just stinks of trouble...more trouble than a cute little fiberglass pretend-muscle car should be courting. And that's most of what you need to know about Wrecker, a thoroughly competent movie that plays increasingly well in direct proportion to how few killer-on-the-road movies one has seen.

Leslie and Emily aren't airheads: It doesn't take them long to realize they've unwittingly offended someone who isn't going to be placated with a polite apology...and yet they still do one dumb thing after another and at a certain point it becomes hard to care about their travails. Cellphone blackout zones or no, America's lost highways just aren't as lost as they used to be, and however desolate certain stretches of road may appear, they're simply not cocooned in the kind of no-man's-land isolation that existed as recently as 20 years ago.

That's a harsh truth that genre filmmakers just can't afford to dance around: Wrecker knows its desolate terrain and hits the right notes, but it's playing in the right place at the wrong time.

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