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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Day 14: The Car

The Car
Sadly, there's no movie called The Soccer Mom's Minivan

Vroom! Vroom! When we think of horror movies, visuals of monsters and ax-murders comes to mind. Sure they may have different looks and powers, but we usually think of some sort of humanoid chasing down and killing people. Rarely do we see a movie where an inanimate object as the villain of a movie and when we do, it's usually too silly to be taken seriously. The Car tried to drive through the stereotypes, but got stuck in the mud. Sorry, I couldn't help myself.

The Car stars James Brolin (The Amityville Horror, The West Wing) as Captain Wade Parent, a police officer in a small community in Utah. A series of bizarre car accidents point to an all-black customized 1971 Lincoln Continental Mark III that's has been seen speeding through town. It has no license plate and no one can get a look at the driver through it's darkened windows. The car targets a group of school children where Wade's girlfriend, Lauren, taunts the supposed driver of the car and it angrily drives off. The later exacts revenge on Lauren by driving straight through her house, killing her. It's up to Wade and his police force to stop this car before it kills again. But how can you stop something that isn't alive?

You have the right to enjoy my mustache

Any movie that has an object instead of a person as the antagonist needs to be taken with a grain of salt. You're not going to get a high-brow movie with a Lincoln Continental running the show. The quote by Anton LeVay at the beginning doesn't help either.That being said, the movie does a fairly decent job creating suspense. You don't know when or where the car will strike. Reasoning doesn't work and bullets cannot stop it. The stunt drivers deserve a lot of credit, winding speeding cars up and down some very dangerous mountain roads. The suspenseful musical strains add a little something extra to each scene as well.

James Brolin (and his wonderful mustache) does his best with a story that seems like it was half a page long. He does a good job as the small town cop and the protective father. The poor, stunted dialogue is not helped by weak acting from his supporting cast. It would have been much worse if Brolin had not been involved. I would have really liked an explanation for what the car is, why it's killing people, and why it's in Utah. Maybe it was sent from the future to take out Mitt Romney. Way to screw that one up, Car. They give a slight hint at the very end, but actually giving us a little more to go on would have created a fuller story instead of just a car chase movie.

"I'm going to kill the shit out of you"

The Car is one of those movies where you get pretty much what you are told. It's a movie about a killer, possibly demonic, car. It was panned by critics, and while it didn't exactly rock my world, it was still watchable. Good chase scenes and bone-rattling crashes keep you interested and give you something to look forward to. James Brolin does a solid acting job, but everyone else comes off as mediocre at best. If you're tired of the usual suspense/horror movies, The Car is not a bad choice, but there are better automobile-related movies from the 70's, such as Steven Spielberg's Duel, Death Race 2000, and Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry.


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