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Shane Van Dyke
Shane Van Dyke,
Eight college students traveling to Florida for Spring Break stumble into a remote town in Georgia where they are set upon by the residents who are out to avenge their deaths by Union troops over 100 years earlier during the Civil War.
William Bonin was a real-life serial killer who murdered a number of young men in the Los Angeles area around 1980. The plot of "Freeway Killer" gives us a character study of this man as an adult already in the process of carrying out his evil schemes.
We see him as he entices young boys into his blue van; gets to know them with general chitchat; then, without warning, strikes, like some wild animal attacking its prey. As Bonin, Scott Anthony Leet gives a really fine, naturalistic performance, with emotions that run the gamut from cheerful normality to blatant hatred. Bonin had at least one accomplice, a young man named Vernon, well played by Dusty Sorg.
The film conveys some gore, though not a lot, mercifully. On the one hand, we do not want a sanitized version of Bonin or his crimes. But we also don't want gratuitous gore and violence that seem to sensationalize people and events. I think "Freeway Killer" strikes a reasonably good balance.
The guys being picked up by Bonin were so similar in age and appearance, they were almost interchangeable. I never did pay much attention to them; they were like stick figures. Any given victim could almost substitute for some other victim, so impersonal and fleeting were their roles in the script.
This is no police procedural; very little time is spent on police investigation. Also, there is no mystery here and very little suspense.
In this low-budget film cinematography is competent. There are lots of close-up shots, with emphasis on peoples' faces, showing their anger, desperation, fear, and deception. Rear-screen projections are noticeable in a few scenes.
Intended mostly for viewers with an interest in true crime, "Freeway Killer" zeroes in on the Bonin character, a madman with the demeanor of a normal guy who liked to mess with the minds of his prospective victims. I rate the film above average for its genre.
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