What do you get when you cross an angry foul-mouthed teenager, a classic children’s tale, and a psychopath? Freeway.
In short, Freeway is a deliciously dark spin on Little Red Riding Hood. Vanessa Lutz (Reese Witherspoon) runs away from her dysfunctional home life to get to her grandmother’s house. Along the way, Bob Wolverton (Kiefer Sutherland) picks her up, and little does Vanessa know he is a serial killer. Sounds interesting, right?
I caught this movie on T.V. one day, and I realized after rewatching it this week, it’s my second-favorite movie of all time, following Pulp Fiction. It’s violent, controversial, and funny. So, if you think this is your kind of flick, here are my top five reasons why it’s a must-see and own.
1. Reese Witherspoon: You may know the star from films such as Legally Blonde and sequel, Walk the Line, and Sweet Home Alabama, but I guarantee you’ve never truly seen her talent until you see Freeway. She is ruthless. She will eff you up and never feel a shred of remorse. And that’s what makes her character so memorable.
2. Kiefer Sutherland: He is a great co-star and perfect complement to Witherspoon. He defines creepy. I still shiver at any close-up shots, and his character makes you uncomfortable. He is a perfect big bad wolf.
3. The stereotypes: This movie insults a lot of people. It takes stereotypes and amps them up to an ear shattering volume. You’ll see drug-addict parents, good/bad cops, rebellious teenagers, thugs, trophy wives, psychological professionals, inmates, and it slaps the court system in the face.
4. It’s controversial: This movie premiered in 1996, when several of these topics were making headlines, and some still do. This movie was not afraid to go there. Beware of offensive language, prostitution, murder, racist remarks/slang, child molestation, interracial relationships, and drug use. If you are easily offended, this movie is not for you.
5. Originality: I give five gold stars for a good premise. At a time when Snow White, Hansel and Gretel, and Jack and the Beanstalk have been CGId and “made dark”, Freeway is a refreshing reminder that Hollywood can make a good movie from a classic story without computer enhancements and popular stars (who were in other movies that made a profit). Major kudos to writer and director Matthew Bright.
These reasons mixed with a number of notable actors/actresses including the late Brittany Murphy, Brooke Shields, Bokeem Woodbine, Dan Hedaya, and Amanda Plummer, create a star-studded thriller you won’t forget.
Here’s a scene from the movie that contains spoilers and language. If you’ve seen the movie, I’d love to know what you think!