August 23, 2016 Road Games (Movie Review)
It is not often a great film with an unorthodox ending wows audience with its truly idealistic and mystery tendencies. Thankfully, British Writer/Director Abner Pastoll (The Secret Wish 2007, Me or the Dog 2011) aids that problem with his film entitled Road Games. Initially released at various film festivals internationally, the film was released in the USA via IFC Midnight back on March 4, 2016 and became available on Blu-ray via Shout! Factory on July 12, 2016. Starring Andrew Simpson (Notes on a Scandal 2006, Wasted 2013) as the suspicious Jack, Joséphine de La Baume (One Day 2011, Rush 2013) as Véronique, Frédéric Pierrot (Sarah’s Key 2010, Young & Beautiful 2013) as Grizard, and Barbara Crampton (You’re Next 2011, We Are Still Here 2015) as Mary helps Road Games develop into a hidden gem that has everyone talking.
With an already captivating beginning, Road Games starts with part of the ending. There is someone getting rid of a seemingly dead person, then the movie takes us back to the beginning where it all started. Jack (Simpson) is an interesting yet mysterious man who happens to be hitching a ride on the outskirts of France. With very little luck, Jack sees a swerving vehicle coming towards his way and abruptly stops letting a beautiful woman named Véronique (De La Baume) run away from the grasp of an abusive man; Jack is able to rescue her and the man drives off angrily. Now both on the road and with no one in sight, Jack and Véronique begin a friendship that is slowly evolving into something else.
After spending a day and a half looking for a ride, Jack and Véronique finally see the end of the tunnel when a car halts on the side of the road and offers both of them a ride. Grizard (Pierrot), the driver, is happy to take them as close as he can but recent problems are blocking the way to Jack’s final destination, forcing them both to sleep over at Grizard’s residence; Jack and a very reluctant Véronique agree to spend the night. At the house, Grizard introduces them to his wife Mary (Crampton), who seems a little mentally unstable, but nonetheless forthcoming. While having dinner, the foursome start to discuss the road killer who targets weak individuals on the road and kills them senseless, then Mary excuses herself and Grizard goes after her.
Véronique keeps telling Jack she thinks the odd couple are weird and confesses to Jack her sad childhood and how she lost her family. The next morning, Véronique is nowhere to be found and Grizard tells jack that she has left the house, but when Jack is taken away to some random man, he knows that Véronique was right all along. His suspicions become true when he manages to escape the man’s truck and while going back the Grizard’s residence, finds Véronique tied up and gagged. Just when they finally think they had escaped the kidnappers place, the odd couple follows them, but not everything is what it seems; Mary and Grizard appear to be following the escapees for reasons other than murdering Jack and Véronique. The ending is a roller coaster of deception and plot twists that nobody will ever see coming.
Every year, hundreds, if not thousands of Thrillers are released in the United States alone, but not all of them can leave a mark on people’s minds. Fortunately, Road Games is one of the Thrillers that do. Films like this are what people look forward to. This is what Horror-movie lovers want to see, people want to be wowed and astonished, and when the directors are smart, it shows. Happy endings are not necessarily the best endings, sometimes the viewers are left drawing conclusions on their own, and that is what real Thrillers are all about. Delving into the mind of Abner Pastoll, it can be concluded that his past, present, and future films will all be as great as Road Games is. CrypticRock gives Road Games 4.5 out of 5 stars.