Hans, his wife and two young children, hit the highway on a trip to visit family. After getting stuck behind a slow-moving van, he recklessly starts to antagonize the eerily stoic driver, blaring the horn and riding his bumper. Little does he realize that he’s just crossed the wrong motorist – a deranged madman who sets out to teach Hans a lesson he’ll not soon forget. Lured into an alarming game of vehicular cat and mouse, a simple family road trip turns into a deadly obstacle course in this nerve-wracking, pulse-pounding thriller, an Official Selection at the Sitges Film Festival and FrightFest.
What We Thought:
Tailgate will most likely get compared to Unhinged, another recent movie about road rage. I haven’t seen that Russell Crowe film yet so I can’t compare the two. I’m thinking that one has a much higher budget and production value, but I can admit I didn’t mind this.
It opens with a bicycle rider having an argument with another man. He’s then hit by that man with his van and the man gets out, stalks the cyclist and kills him. Pretty strong open and if the movie was as quick as that, it would be a home run. Unfortunately it slows down from there. We are introduced to a family, a husband, wife and their two daughters. I immediately hated the husband and wanted him dead. He just irked me from the beginning being rude to his kids and his wife. Sure they were running late, but I just didn’t like him. They finally pile into their car and hit the road.
He’s speeding trying to make up time and gets stuck behind a white van. There are trucks on his right blocking that lane and the van isn’t moving fast or slow enough to pass or get in front of the trucks. He’s beeping, tailgating, trying to get the driver’s attention so he can through. He ends up taking an exit to get gas. While getting gas, snacks and taking a bathroom break the family runs into the driver who wants an apology for how the husband was driving. They clash and the family thinks they’ve seen the last of him.
Of course the mad man starts following them and on a side road they clash again. He tries to kill the husband, but they escape and are able to get to the police station. They finally make it to their destination (the grandparents’ house) and think everything will be alright, but this is a road rage story so you can guess who’s waiting.
Tailgate won’t wow anyone. It’s not gory like Jeepers Creepers and despite it slowing down after the opening scene, it is pretty tense. You wonder how far it will go and I did like the sort of open-ended ending. I watched it with the English dub which I don’t recommend. There isn’t a whole lot of talking in the opening so I didn’t realize it was the dubbed version until about 15 minutes in. I should have switched it Dutch with English subtitles, but that’s my own fault for not doing that. The road rage actor is very good. He’s an older man with patience and virtue so he comes across as righteous in his own head. The husband character I didn’t like, not sure if it was the character or the actor. I don’t know how it was received overseas, but I could see it getting a sequel or two if it got a following.
Running Time: 86 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 Widescreen
Audio: Dolby 5.1/2.0 Stereo
Language: English/Dutch with English Subtitles