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Considering how often hapless drivers are harassed by menacing truckers on our nation’s highways in movies, it’s a wonder anyone gets in their car at all. The latest example of the increasingly tired road rage genre is Micheal Bafaro’s thriller that basically recycles the plot of Steven Spielberg’s classic 1971 television movie Duel and soups it up with a hot red Mustang and an even hotter pair of female protagonists. Unfortunately, despite all the high speed action Wrecker runs out of gas very early on.
Best friends Emily (Anne Hutchison) and Leslie (Drea Whitburn) are tooling down the highway minding their own banal business when, after taking a short cut (never a good idea, as anyone who’s seen these types of films can attest), they get stuck behind a slow-moving tow truck. The driver waves at them to pass on his left side, leading to a near collision between the Mustang and oncoming traffic. This pisses the women off, and when they rudely respond, they get drawn into a cat-and-mouse game that goes on for what seems like a very, very long time.
Of course, all the trouble could have been avoided if the women had checked into a motel for the night or, say, chosen a new route. But no, even after stopping at a roadside diner where the trucker has also parked (and profanely acussed an innocent man of being their attacker), they get back into their car again and again, only to be confronted by the truck whose engine apparently has been upgraded to race car proportions for just such an eventuality.
Despite such plot development as one of the women being kidnapped and the other being stopped by a highway patrolman who not surprisingly is turned into roadkill, the story never gathers any cumulative force. The largely unseen trucker is defined only by the upside-down crucifix and pentagram hanging from his rear-view mirror.
Director Bafaro shows little aptitude for the driving sequences which are stunningly dull in their repetitiveness and lack of visual flair. Shot largely from the driver’s perspective and rarely bothering to show both vehicles in the same frame, Wrecker feels like an endless ride to nowhere.
Production: Industryworks Studios
Cast: Anna Hutchison, Drea Whitburn
Director/screenwriter: Micheal Bafaro
Producers: Don Knodel, Even Taylor, Joan Curtis
Executive producers: Evan Taylor, Andrew Lee Smith, John Curtis, Barry Gordon, Michael Radiloff
Directors of photography: Jon Thomas, Ian MacDougall
Production designers: Kays Vandererst, Jordan Andrews
Editors: CJ Wallis, Karilynn Ming Ho
Costume designer: Nicole La Greca
Composer: Vince Mai
Casting: Paul Ruddy
Not rated, 83 min.
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Santa Barbara International Film Festival