Freeway Movie Review

Movie Review by Anthony Leong © Copyright 1997

You know, you should have just let me out of the car when I asked you to Bob! See where bad manners gets you?! See?!!

This contemporization of the Little Red Riding Hood story, set in modern day San Diego, makes "Married with Children" look like "Leave it to Beaver". With a campy perversity, this shock-driven satire crosses between discomforting horror and comedy.

Vanessa Lutz (Reese Witherspoon) is an illiterate 15-year old girl who lives in a dysfunctional white-trash family. Her mother (Amanda Plummer) is a prostitute and her stepfather (Michael T. Weiss) is a drug addict that molests her. After the police haul her mother away for soliciting and her father for sexual assault, Vanessa is left in the hands of foster care. However, Vanessa gives the social worker the slip and sets off in her car to go see her grandmother, who lives up north. However, she doesn't get very far when the car overheats. Bob Wolverton (Kiefer Sutherland) pulls alongside and offers her a lift to Los Angeles. Unfortunately, Bob is the dreaded "I-5 Killer", who pretends to be Vanessa's friend as he plots his nefarious schemes against her. When Bob finally does show his true colors, there is a rapid reversal as Vanessa pulls out a gun and shoots him several times, leaving him for dead. However, Bob lives and identifies Vanessa as his assailant, landing Vanessa in jail (and into a 'women behind bars' section of the film). While Vanessa is in jail, Bob, horribly disfigured by the shooting, begins a publicity campaign with his wife (Brook Shields!) petitioning the court to try Vanessa as an adult.

If there is anything truly outstanding about "Freeway", it would have to be the performances of the two principals, Witherspoon and Sutherland. Reese Witherspoon's performance as Vanessa brings across an illiterate but precocious innocence, that is reminiscent of Jodie Foster or Allison Elliot ("Spitfire Grill"). Kiefer Sutherland is perfectly creepy as the villain in an over-the-top performance.

This film requires a strong stomach and an odd sense of humor. If you like movies like "Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!" or "Switchblade Sisters", you definitely will enjoy this revenge romp.

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