Film Review: Exploitation Lives in ‘Roadkill’

If you don’t delve too deep, ‘Roadkill’ is a fun ’70s-style actioner.

When two psychologically damaged people meet up on the road, nothing but trouble can result, and that’s exactly what happens in writer/director Warren Fast’s Roadkill. Combining elements of ’70s road films with more recent entries like The Hitcher and Joyride, it makes for a fun, fast-paced 90 minutes.

Caitlin Carmichael is a driver motoring in a muscle car down a rural stretch of highway. She picks up a drifter (Ryan Knudson) and they decide to travel together. Recognizing each other as lost souls, the driver reasons, “Maybe we can help each other.”

Meanwhile, the town sheriff (Fast) and his deputy (Trenton Hudson) are in search of the person or persons responsible for a series of murders that have occurred in the area. A series of coincidences put the driver and the hitchhiker in the hot seat, and they become the sheriff’s prime suspects.

Carmichael is fascinating to watch as the driver. We always wonder what’s going on in that head. Likewise, Knudson’s drifter is a man of few words whose motives are mysterious. Over the course of the film, we get rather disturbing fragments of their backstories which hint at their troubles. Horror icon Danielle Harris (Halloween IV: the Return of Michael Myers) shows up in a bit as a waitress in a roadside diner. And yes, she does scream.

From a production standpoint, Roadkill looks great. Joshua Lanier’s cinematography and editing is appropriately fast-moving and supercharged by Daniel Davies’ score.

All in all, Fast demonstrates a real affinity for the genre. And Carmichael could become an action go-to girl if she wants to. Roadkill opens at the Lumiere Cinema at the Music Hall and on digital Jan. 5.

Feature photo: Caitlin Carmichael (Uncork’d Entertainment).

Kurt Gardner



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