Stolen cars, stolen identities, mucho drugs, seedy road-side motels, skanky hot chicks, double-crossing, blackmail, rape and murder; hitchhiking across the country is awesome!
“I don’t need gas”
- John Ryder/The Hitcher
With those immortal words, the hitchhiker sub-genre was born…and then, at the end of the tail credits, said genre was shot in the face, burned, urinated on and buried - and for the last twenty years…nada. Teenagers have enjoyed decades of on on-screen slaughter in countless masked/burned/disfigured/retarded/trans-gendered-psycho slasher flicks, but how many times have we been given some good, gruesome, lone stretch of highway-mayhem to play around in? Including The Hitcher
, I’d say once. Sure there have been a few other movies that want to share the same, blood-soaked patch of asphalt with the likes of John Ryder and Jim Halsey…but most, if not all, wind-up blowing a tire and skidding-out, never reaching the pantheon…that immortal level, that area of greatness that The Hitcher
did twenty years ago. Hell, even Highwaymen
failed…and it was directed by the same guy (Robert Harmon).
This brings us to now, right here; the year of our Lord two-thousand and six. Twenty years and change later, and a new film has emerged as a blur on the heat-stroked horizon of hitchhiker horror flicks, racing towards us, a hulking mass of steel and blood and exhaust; Director Marc Samson’s Interstate
has arrived. Before I turn this review into some sort of f**king thesis, let me answer two simple questions: Is it any good? Hell yes! Does it match the ferocity and genius of The Hitcher
? Not on your life
. But then, I’m not sure Samson ever intended Interstate
to usurp the throne held by The Hitcher
. In fact, I’m not so sure he even intended Interstate
to be a horror film at all. It certainly doesn’t play
like your standard horror fare. Sure there are moments that could be considered “horror-ish” or “horrific”, but the film as a whole plays more like an LSD-fueled-noir than anything else. So maybe this entire meditation is moot. Maybe drawing comparisons to The Hitcher
is irrelevant, because maybe…there aren’t any to be drawn. Maybe I’m just flappin’ my gums – I dunno. What I do know though, is that Interstate
definitely stands on its own two legs, emerging as an original and very unique variation on the classic road-movie mythos.
What Samson has done with Interstate
, is create a film that expertly rides the dotted yellow line between the psycho cat-and-mouse of The Hitcher
and the lurid absurdity of something like say…The Big Empty
, or maybe Black Cat Run
. Again, I dunno. It’s a tough flick to draw similarities to. I guess, in the end, that’s the ace up Interstate’s
sleeve - It manages to set itself just far enough apart from anything else so as not to be easily filed away.