On the way to my destination I reviewed Shakedown (1988) (you can read that review here) and on the way back I decided to give The Car a return visit.
As with Shakedown, The Car was a film I saw way, waaaaaaaay back when, likely in/around the time it was originally released -likely a few years later- and not since. I recall enjoying the film but it didn’t necessarily stick with me too much.
Here’s the movie’s trailer but, if you haven’t seen the film and are curious to see it, please REFRAIN FROM SEEING IT. Another of those trailers that, IMHO, give away too much of the story.
The film stars James Brolin who, back then, looks a hell of a lot like his son Josh Brolin (No Country For Old Men, The Goonies, The Avengers: Endgame, Deadpool 2, etc. etc.).
The film’s plot is quite simple: In a sleepy desert town somewhere out west, a black sedan suddenly appears and starts killing people in gory ways.
What in tarnation is going on here?
What’s going on is this is a film that falls into that delightful -to me anyway!- movie genre subcategory featuring “homicidal vehicles.” My favorite of them is Steve Spielberg’s first big hit, Duel, but it also includes such films as Killdozer, Maximum Overdrive (Stephen King’s one and only foray into direction), and, if you squint your eyes, Quentin Tarantino’s Deathproof.
The film also, I feel, tries to emulate another Steven Spielberg hit film, the previous year’s release Jaws. In many ways, The Car feels like a land-locked version of Jaws, with the car being the equivalent of the homicidal shark.
As I hadn’t seen the film in so long, several parts of it surprised and delighted me. There are interesting characters littered throughout the film, some nice and others not so nice. You have a character who is fighting alcoholism and, given the events which happen, loses that battle. You have a love interest who’s brave as hell. You also have a climax that truly ratchets up the suspense before giving us a satisfying end.
While I don’t think anyone is going to mistake the artistry of The Car with that present in either Duel or Jaws, The Car nonetheless holds its own as a suspenseful meat-and-potatoes dip into that suspenseful sub-genre.