Freeway (1996)

Directed and Written by Matthew Bright

Reese Witherspoon, Kiefer Sutherland, Wolfgang Bodison, Dan Hedaya, Susan Barnes, Brittany Murphy, Brooke Shields, Conchata Farrell Amanda Plummber, Alanna Ubach, Michael T Weiss, Bokeem Woodbine, Guillermo Diaz.

Modern retelling of the fable of Red Riding Hood, sees 15 year old, illiterate Vanessa (Witherspoon in one of her earliest roles) rendered an ‘orphan’ after her parents are arrested. Rather than go to foster care, she decides to head to her Grandmothers’.  On her trip her car breaks down, and is offered a ride by Bob Wolverton (Sutherland, in one of his best roles), who reveals himself to be the famous I-5 serial killer, responsible for the murder of several teen girls.

Once again I review a movie that I have not seen in over twenty years. The direction, and cinematography starts erratic in the early parts of Vanessa’s story – and in some ‘point of view’ shots also well done. As the story progresses, and other characters are on screen, the camera is more still and calmer, to complement the characters that are on screen. It is very subtle, but done well.

The violence is ‘mostly’ implied, or offscreen so we see the aftermath of it, some of this is quite confronting – especially what the characters do. That being said, there are still some realistic violence that occurs onscreen, so it earns its 18+ rating here in Australia.

The score by Danny Elfman is always on point, especially during the amzing opening credits and his gothic tones that we are used to with his usual collaborators seem somewhat underused.

The performances are absolutely amazing in every role, with every performance absolutely nailed. Special mentions to Susan Barnes as the overly friendly Mrs Cullins and the late great Brittany Murphy as the troubled Rhonda. Murphy was such an extrodinary talent and it is such a shame we lost her at such a young age.

This was a pretty solid movie, and still holds up over 25 years later.

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