Quite a large number of people recommended "Penny Dreadful" to me recently, and even though it's definitely not a terrible little film, I sure wished the descriptions of the story would have been a bit more accurate and the film itself would have been a tiny bit better. It's really not a horrific thriller in the tradition of "The Hitcher" simply because it features a maniacal hitch-hiker and it's definitely not reminiscent of "Wrong Turn" because it is set in the woods. "Penny Dreadful" is not much more than a simplistic backwoods slasher with a couple of ambitious themes (like the childhood traumas & phobias) and a couple clever and effective low-budget cinema tricks, like a minimum of filming locations. Adorable young Penny witnessed her parents dying in a car crash at young age. Ever since that day she's petrified of cars and that phobia prevents her from building up a normal life, for example dating the hunk in her apartment block. When the movie starts, she and her psychiatrist (Mimi Rogers) are driving towards the place where the accident happened, to get therapeutic closure once and for all. But Penny's fear for cars will get a lot worse before it gets better, because the two women pick up a sinister and uncanny hitch-hiker. The individual behaves odd but harmless at first, even offering the ladies a tasty-looking kebab, but pretty soon Penny is locked inside the car and trapped between two trees, and with her phobia of cars that is really not a nice place to hang out. "Penny Dreadful" benefices from an overall unsettling atmosphere and a couple of nail-biting suspense sequences, but the film is too long and it's impossible for director Richard Brandes to hold the viewer's attention throughout the entire playtime. Perhaps the film, and particularly the scares, would have worked better in a short format, like an episode of "Masters of Horror" or something. Now several scenes feel dragged and tedious. The denouement is rather stupid and only confirms that "Penny Dreadful" is just an average by-the-numbers slasher, because all the mystery surrounding the murderous hitcher has suddenly vanished. It's not a very gory movie, but the few make-up effects are competently achieved and quite freaky. The cinematography is probably the best aspect of the entire movie, as Joplin Wu's camera makes the ominous woods at night look even more menacing and inescapable than they already are.