The Hitcher without quite so much hitching. Thumbing a ride around rural France, young Jack meets fellow 'hiker Veronique, similarly lost without a clue. Met cute, the pair manage to get a ride from a lonely local, who invites them back to his country house for dinner with his wife. But with a vicious murderer on the loose and said wife being played by genre legend Barbara Crampton, there's more at play here than meets the eye.
No, really, there is. Its twists and turns should be Road Games' bread and butter, and yet it remains surprisingly dull most of the time. The first half (and then some) is all build-up for a story we've all seen many times before – the second a reasonably entertaining game of cat and mouse between the young lovers and their pursuers. It looks beautiful and is technically very well done (that most of the action happens during the daytime is appreciated) but simply isn't as clever as it thinks it is.
It's great to see Crampton continue her career resurgence, but there's no hiding the fact that Road Game wastes her talents. Clearly uncomfortable acting in French and barely given more to do than she was in You're Next (albeit spread across more screentime), she's surrounded by idiots and rarely given the chance to stretch herself. Thank heaven for Frederic Pierrot as the creepy yet likeable Grizard, being the film's most charismatic star.
Interesting yet over-long, melodramatic and fatally predictable, Road Games is a backwoods horror film with a sheen of class, respectability and Barbara Crampton. These things go some way to save the day, but there are times when these road games feel like a dreadful trudge.
ROAD GAMES / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: ABNER PASTOLL / STARRING: ANDREW SIMPSON, JOSEPHINE DE LA BAUME, FREDERIC PIERROT, BARBARA CRAMPTON, FEODOR ATKINE / RELEASE DATE: TBC