A twisted take on 'Little Red Riding Hood' with a teenage juvenile delinquent on the run from a social worker traveling to her grandmother's house and being hounded by a charming, but sadistic, serial killer/pedophile.
Little Red Riding Hood for the 1990's: After her mom and step-dad are arrested, 15-year-old Vanessa Lutz decides that instead of once again being put into a foster home, she'd rather go and search for the grandmother she's never met, and live with her. "On the way to grandma's house," (actually a trailer park) Vanessa's car breaks down, and she's picked up from the side of the road by Bob Wolverton, a counselor at a school for troubled boys. Bob slowly earns Vanessa's trust, and eventually convinces her to talk about her sexual abuse at the hands of her stepfather. When Vanessa realizes that Bob is enjoying what she's saying, she realizes that he's "The I-5 Killer," from the news. She tries to get out of his truck, but the inside door handle has been removed... Written by
Daniel Aubrey White <firstname.lastname@example.org>
While watching this film I was disgusted, disturbed, and horrified while all the while LOVING THIS FILM. Living in a house where fairy tale literature is commonplace (my wife studies Children's Literature), I was surprised by this film. Seeing it in the value bin at most video stores, I expected poor production, horrible direction, and a pathetic cast. We have all seen these films that boast big names, but somehow never fully follow through. Freeway is nothing of the kind. It is a carefully written and delivered retelling of one of our most beloved fairy tales with a extremely dark twist.
Reece Witherspoon (pre-Legally Blonde) gives a performance that surprised me. I did not realize that she was so capable of bringing this character to life. Her counterpart, the illustrious 'Wolf', played by 80s child Keifer Sutherland, is yet another powerful force in this film. The two of them nearly carry this film on their shoulders. This is one of those perfect examples of a film that did not have much publicity after its release, but has since then obtained 'cult' status through avid viewer's word of mouth. This is definitely a film for all movie critics, film buffs, and fanatics to gaze at just once. I know there were some poor reviews when it was first released, but I am sure that a second viewing would bring this gem back to life.
I would also like to add that director Matthew Bright is a film genius. He successfully took a very wholesome and good natured story (or that we think) and transforms it into the fearsome dark story that it should be. Our society has the consistency of taking dark elements and transforming them into stories for our children. A wolf eats a grandmother in this story how happy and uplifting is that? I applaud Bright for taking this story and transforming it into a modern day fairy tale. It is gripping, fascinating, and downright beautiful.
If you enjoyed Natural Born Killers and was hoping for a nicer twist, this film is your answer. I also suggest that if you couldn't get enough of Freeway that you try to get your hands on the very rare Freeway 2: Confessions of a Trickbaby. See how Bright delicately transforms yet another dark fairy tale (Hansel and Gretel) into a modern masterpiece.
Grade: ***** out of *****
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