MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Wrecker’ Runs On Fumes

wrecker

Film: Wrecker
Starring: Anna Hutchison, Andrea Whitburn
Directed by: Micheal Bafaro

In Wrecker, two girls in a Mustang cross paths with a murderous tow truck driver on an empty stretch of highway with a deadly past. What’s the worst that could happen?

There is something to be said for simplicity in horror, and in the case of Wrecker the narrative has been stripped to its bare essentials. Two gorgeous twenty-somethings—Emily (Anna Hutchinson) and Lesley (Andrea Whitburn)—come across a creepy tow truck in the middle of nowhere. They think nothing of the exhaust-spewing vehicle at first, but after an unsettling stop at small town gas station they become unwitting participants in a tense game of cat and mouse. The smart thing to do would be to turn around, or perhaps even find a different route, but before our leads can even consider those options a few dumb decisions turns their situation from bad to worse.

Emily and Lesley eventually find a way to create some space between them and the mysterious stranger tormenting them, but as soon as they stop to eat, his vehicle appears once more. They can stay and eat, using their time to survey the other diners, or they can flee and hope they are not followed. They decide on confrontation, and in doing so start a fight with a complete stranger who is absolutely innocent. Their nerves are shot, as are their appetites, so again they return to the road.

Terror eventually finds our leads again, and again they must decide between fight or flight. They know they cannot run forever, so they choose the least desirable option. One friend goes missing, leaving the other to fight on her own, and once night falls, the body count begins to rise.

You can probably name one or three films about obnoxious young people who piss off the wrong truck driver, and you will likely find one or two components of those films used in Wrecker. The movie’s premise is the furthest thing from original, but thanks to admirable turns from Hutchison and Whitburn, not to mention a keen eye for tension from writer/director Micheal Bafaro, the movie is entirely watchable. It’s the kind of thing you expect to see playing late night on basic cable in two years, likely as part of some marathon of so-called ‘highway terror’ titles like Duel and Joy Ride.

The film’s biggest flaw is the space between interactions with the evil trucker, which unfortunately make up the vast majority of the film’s runtime. Bafaro proves during moments of tension he can certainly handle high octane action, and he even manages to pull off a few decent jump scares with a multi-ton vehicle, but he has no idea what to do with his characters when they are not experiencing some kind of life-threatening event. The two female leads are as helpless and empty as you might fear, and their friendship feels as thin as the script probably is with all descriptive phrases removed.

Considering the fact that there are far too few tales of highway terror being released today I would say Wrecker is perfectly fine genre fare for any muscle car junkies in need of something new to watch. The story is paper thin and the acting is not above that of a Lifetime Original Movie, but if you’re looking for 84 minutes of occasionally thrilling entertainment involving sadistic tow trucks that you can watch without leaving the couch then Wrecker might be for you. It’s like eating your third or fourth favorite candy bar. It’s not something you’ll tell your friends about, and you’ll almost certainly not remember enjoying it two days later, but while it lasts it’s better than nothing, if only by a small margin.

GRADE: D+

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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