Freeway (1996), by director Matthew Bright ponders the philosophical question: What if Little Red Riding Hood was a semi-literate, teenage prostitute with a "problem with anger"? What would happen then? I'll tell you what would happen, the Big Bad Wolf would take an ass kickin', that's what. And we get to watch it all unfold in this warped, modern day fairy tale.Reese Witherspoon stars as "Red" (Vanessa Lutz) a young girl who is not having a good day when both her Mom and step Dad get busted and sent back off to jail. Instead of going back into foster care she decides to go and live with her Grandma. Unfortunately, she doesn't get very far before she is stranded on the freeway without any help and nowhere to go. It is there that she is offered a ride by the "Big Bad Wolf," Bob Wolverton (played by Kiefer Sutherland). Unknown to Vanessa, Bob is actually the I-5 killer, a notorious serial killer working the highways of southern California looking for young girls to mutilate. But unknown to Bob is that Vanessa is not his usual victim, and maybe this time he has bitten off more than he can chew. And you don't even want to know what happens when they get to Grandma's house.While the language and violence in this movie was obviously inspired by movies like Pulp Fiction it really takes off in its own direction and is not just another copy. Reese Witherspoon as "Red" is in one of the best roles of her career (if not the best), this is a role she was born to play. Vanessa Lutz's life is really screwed up, she is really pissed off about it and takes out her anger on anyone and everyone that messes with her, the Big Bad Wolf doesn't know who he's messing with. Kiefer Sutherland as "Bob" is perfectly cast as the slimy, creepy killer. This would have to be the polar opposite of his virtuous agent character on the series 24 and he is perfectly cast as well, I can think of no one who could have done better with this part. The supporting cast is also very good and helps add to the entertainment value of the film. Wolfgang Bodison and the always entertaining Dan Hedaya as the two detectives investigating the case, Amanda Plummer as Vanessa's Mom, Michael T. Weiss as her scummy step Dad and Brooke Shields as "Bob's" clueless wife all really add to the story. The movie is also helped out by the strange but interesting sound track by Danny Elfman that only seems to add to the strangeness of the situation that we find ourselves.
Originally posted 5/27/2005