Road Games (2016) – Movie Review

Typically, beginning a trip by sticking your thumb out to hitch a ride does not end well. There are some seriously sick people out there! Haven’t you ever seen the signs on the highway that say DO NOT PICK UP HITCHHIKERS? This is especially true in horror movies. Through the decades, we have had quite a few movies relating to this topic: The Hitch-Hiker (1953), The Hitcher (1986), the sequel The Hitcher 2: I’ve Been Waiting for you (2003), a 2007 remake of the 198 film and, let’s not forget, the short story from Creepshow 2 (1987). Then there’s Road Games (1981) starring the original scream queen herself, Jamie Lee Curtis. I recently watched the new British-French film called Road Games, which has a slightly different premise than the 1981 version. However, the hitchhiking theme is still relevant. Was it as good as the others before it? Or was it just another wannabe let down?

Written and directed by Abner Pastoll, Road Games (AKA Fausse Route) debuted on August 30th, 2015, at Film4 Frightfest, although it was officially released on March 4th, 2016 in the US by IFC Midnight. It’s now even available on Netflix.


The plot follows a down-on-his-luck man named Jack (Andrew Simpson) who’s hitchhiking his way through France when he comes across the beautiful native Veronique (Josephine de La Baume). They attempt to hitch a ride together, but unfortunately, they get no offers. They end up sleeping in the middle of nowhere and start a budding romance even with a language barrier between them. The next day, their luck seems to change as they are picked up by Frenchman Grizard (Frederic Pierrot). When they ask to be taken to a ferry, Grizard tells them that, due to storms, the ferries are closed. He offers them a chance to wait out the storm with him and his wife, Mary (Barbara Crampton). Not having many options, the two lovebirds take him up on his offer and settle in for the night. Everything is fine until Jack mentions the serial killer that has been offing hitchhikers and leaving them on the road. Mary becomes highly disturbed and that’s when things become really strange between the four central characters. This is when the viewer starts to wonder – who’s more dangerous, the hitchhikers or the people who pick them up?


What Works:

The whole cast is absolutely amazing. Barbara Crampton is astounding in her role and she captivates the audience every time she is on screen. Simpson and de La Baume also give stellar performances. They are completely believable as a couple that just met but they most definitely have chemistry. Pastoll knew exactly what he was doing with the language barrier and delivers with a nice twist to the audience. The ending will leave you wondering: did that just happen? Be sure to stick around for the end credits!


What didn’t work:

For me, I don’t have much to complain about. The pacing of the movie is a little slow but it’s worth the ending. Sometimes it’s hard to understand what some of the actors are saying when they are speaking English. However, I would much prefer it this way than having it dubbed over. If you don’t pay attention you could miss something because there are some subtitles throughout the film. I don’t mind but it could lose some viewers and I could see how they could get lost if they’re not focused.

Final Thoughts:

I honestly thought Road Games was brilliant and well worth a viewing or two. Yes, it is slow and does require the audience to pay attention, but the director knew exactly what he was doing and the 80% Rotten Tomatoes rating certifying it fresh is more than well deserved. Some of the best movies out there are subtitled and you get the best of both worlds in this one, with it being half in French and half in English, which was a smart and unique move. Now take my expert advice and don’t use your “thumb” to hitchhike, but use it to press play as soon as possible on Netflix before it disappears!


About Lacylou1122

Lacy Lou has had a love for horror movies pretty much since birth! If you ever need a horror trivia question answered she's your girl!!! She is obsessed with the movie Scream and even has a Ghostface tattoo to prove it! She loves to write and make new friends that share the same interest.

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