Road Games **1/2 out of 4 stars
directed by Abner Pastoll
starring Andrew Simpson, Josephine De La Baume, Frederic Pierrot
Horror films about hitchhikers are a dime a dozen. So get ready for Road Games, another hitchhiking-gone-wrong scare flick that stands a bit above others by lifting it to Hitchcockian proportions. The plot isn’t anything new at first. We open on our British hitchhiker Jack (Andrew Simpson) as he is stuck in the rural French Country side, trying to catch a ride to see his parents in England, a foreshadowing road-killed fox present. Down the road, he comes across a French hitchhiker, Veronique (Josephine De La Baume), who only becomes one after she is kicked out of a car that drives in Jack’s path. A duo is made, and in a matter of brief moments Jack and Veronique are already bringing on the heat and getting naked. Luckily, our mysterious driver named Grizard shows up to offer them a ride, played with progressive weirdness by Frederic Pierrot. Veronique is instantly sketched-out, Jack is just eager to get to his parents. Of course, the plot’s road leads to them staying a night at Grizard’s house, who he shares with his even more mysterious American wife Mary (Barbara Crampton). So far, sorta familiar, with every character made to look suspicious. Not only that, but there’s a rampaging, road-kill collecting serial killer on the loose. What’s that? You heard me.
As the characters mesh it up to blood-splattering effect, clue-grenades are tossed at you on the regular. You might get overwhelmed with possible theories, and no way is the final outcome as satisfying and ground-breaking as you’re led to believe. But the travel on the rocky-road getting there is most of the fun, with director Abner Pastoll expertly knowing how to build suspense, with beautiful images by gifted cinematographer Eben Bolter to keep you in the film’s trance. As far as the acting goes, Frederic Pierrot would be the stand out. His tip into utter-derangement somehow still makes you feel for him, even when all hell later breaks loose. At it’s best, Road Games provides a sinister viewpoint of being a foreigner traveling abroad.