Film: Freeway


Cast includes: Reese Witherspoon (Legally Blond), Kiefer Sutherland (A Few Good Men), Brook Sheilds (Suddenly Susan), Amanda Plummer (Pulp Fiction), Brittnay Murphy (Clueless)
Writer/Director: Matthew Bright (Ted Bundy)
Genre: Dark Comedy/ Crime Thriller (1996)

In brief: “The cat drinks milk.” Vanessa Lutz struggles to sound it out, but when she finally does, she’s rewarded with a great big kiss from classmate and fiancée, Chopper. Reading isn’t Vanessa’s only problem though. At home, her mom turns tricks to buy drugs for her stepfather, Larry, who mostly gets stoned and watches TV day and night. A news bulletin on TV reports yet another killing on the San Diego Freeway, but thankfully, the Freeway Killer is not one of Vanessa’s problems. When her mom is arrested for prostitution and Larry’s arrested for sexually abusing Vanessa, it looks like Vanessa will be going back to foster care yet again. But Vanessa has another idea. There’s Grandma up in Stockton.

Vanessa packs her belongings in a basket and escapes foster care in the family junk heap. When Chopper tells her he can’t come along, he gives her a going-away present… his gun. “Sell it when you get where you’re going.” But that won’t be anytime soon. Once on the freeway, the junk heap over heats and Vanessa is stuck… until Bob comes along and offers her a ride as far as LA. A psychological councilor in a boy’s school, Bob can tell right away that Vanessa is a teenager in trouble. When he asks about her family, Vanessa tells him her “mom’s next parole officer ain’t even been born yet.” Bob encourages her to tell him everything, which she eventually does. As the sorted details of Vanessa’s life come out, Bob’s interest is starting to feel a little sinister. And when Vanessa finally catches on, she’s really mad. “Maybe I ain’t smart like you, and maybe I ain’t finished school. But at least I ain’t a fucking hypocrite.” She just wants out of the car… but Bob, the Freeway Killer, has other plans. Bob has no idea just how resourceful this little runaway can be.

The opening credits of the film show us scenes from Little Red Riding Hood, so we’re not surprised when Vanessa meets up with the big bad wolf. But this updated version of the classic children’s story is totally twisted and totally sadistic. It’s an early film for Reese, and she’s perfect as the plucky juvenile delinquent. Kiefer Sutherland plays a seriously nasty pedophile and serial killer… until he turns really mean. Murder, revenge, betrayal and survival… Freeway has it all. It’s a lot of fun if you’re not turned off by “lurid violence and extra strong language.” It’s Little Red Riding Hood… how bad could it be?

popcorn rating

3 popped kernels

Popped kernels for the creative, original story and script. Excellent acting and really fun, dark story.

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