WreckerThere’s something incredibly entertaining about watching characters beings challenged until they fight back. Films that utilize that familiar but refreshing character arc tend to be quite a lot of fun, and when done right, offer their viewers with stories and characters that are easy to go on a journey with. Unfortunately, there’s also the flip-side to that coin, and Micheal Bufaro’s WRECKER most definitely fits into that area.

Heading towards a much needed getaway, best friends Emily and Leslie are driving fast and stocked up on “two bags of weed.” Emily is the more passive of the two, and lets her cheating boyfriend back home walk all over her, something that the more free-spirited Leslie responds to with telling Emily that she needs to toughen up. En route to their destination, they piss off the wrong trucker, and so begins the film (actually there’s about 15 minutes or so before the truck even appears). Emily is reserved about dealing with the vicious highway killer but Leslie responds with throwing a bottle at the truck, making matters worse and giving the film’s viewers yet another reason to really despise every single character in the films.

WRECKER suffers from the fact that we’ve all seen its plot before, whether it be in Spielberg’s DUEL or the opposite end of the spectrum, the highly addictive JOY RIDE 3. There’s nothing with having a little fun with these types of films, and as previously stated above, it’s great to follow characters in these films if done right. By the time the faceless truck driver appears (we never see who’s driving the truck, but we’re shown pentagrams and inverted crosses hanging inside of it), the film has already alienated its audience by failing to give us any likable or even remotely interesting characters. The dialogue feels forced, the duo being chased screams at the truck one second (while inside of their car so it’s not like the driver hears them whatsoever) and walks away from it the next.

It’s the lack of continuity that ultimately kills the film, making it hard to sit through, let alone enjoy. Shots don’t feel like they’re supposed to follow any sort of order, the nearby land being flat and desolate one second and a cliff with a city in the background the next. When you have a film that offers up two protagonists you don’t like, a lack of anything to latch onto or hell, even a single death scene that doesn’t result in just an actor laying on the street with blood coming out of his mouth (after being hit at top speed by the truck), then it’s already lost its viewer with poor execution. Even with those obvious mistakes, the film could have been halfway decent, had there not been scenes lifted by better films. If you’ve seen DUEL, then you’ve not only seen this film’s finale, but also a scene in which the film’s protagonist stops somewhere and sees the truck outside, causing said protagonist to wonder which surrounding character is the guy behind the wheel. Been there, done that, bought the shirt. Pass.