Ready yourself for one of the most ridiculous movie premises you’ve ever heard. An evil, shape-shifting, man-eating car deliberately crashes itself on an American highway and is delivered to the local police car compound. Once there, it begins to hunt and kill a mismatched group of mechanics. But what sounds like good fun (admit it, it does) quickly turns into a dull waste of time and money.
Now, evil car movies are nothing new and they’ve previously ranged from the good (Spielberg’s Duel) to the – putting it mildly – not so good (Maximum Overdrive). This outing is parked firmly in the latter section because it’s lacking the laughs required for a Friday night get-together, the scares for horror aficionados and the gore for, well, both of the previous.
In all fairness, there’s never been a killer car movie where the vehicle was actually an evil morphing squid, so some marks for originality should be awarded. Those same marks, however, could be removed swiftly on the basis that the above comment ought to be a spoiler, but it’s not and this is the biggest mistake of them all. Director Eric Valette foolishly chooses to reveal what’s under the hood in the first act and the results are underwhelming. Had he chosen to stick with the opening technique of filming the car/squid at an atmospheric distance, the end reveal would have meant something.
Still, the cast do their best with this flawed material. Shannon Beckner convinces as an action heroine, even with the questionable dialogue frequently thrown her way. Together with Oded Fehr, as the selfish boss, they work hard within their archetypes to make sure you don’t actively want these characters to be given the most gruesome deaths possible, a common problem with monster movies.
The final nail in the coffin, however, is the last-ditch attempt to play it straight, thereby dispelling any hopeful notions that the filmmakers were aiming for the ‘so bad it’s good’ angle.