Well, here is a damn good road horror film. Infused with the style of Duel, Black Cadillac is a welcome addition to the killer vehicle club despite a small budget.
After a night of drunken bar fun in, get this, Wisconsin (!?!) three young guys are stalked by a mysterious black Cadillac on the back roads on their way home to Minnesota. First of all, is Minnesota so bad that people go to party in Wisconsin?
Like Duel, the ambiguity of the deathmobile driver is the core strength of the film. The viewer is plagued by and put into the same situation as the protagonists; a place designed to be uncomfortable, unknowing, and unnerving.
Randy Quaid (National Lampoon’s Vacation) does a fine job playing an off duty cop that the trio picks up during their ordeal. One note, as an avid horror watcher I tend to notice a trend when a big time actor is in a small movie. It means A) Someone was owed a big favor and appearing in the film was the payment or B) the character is very dynamic and is not what the audience expects. I’ll let you guess on this one. As a side note, I guessed which one within a few minutes.
The ambience is dark, lonely, and creepy. I know I personally wouldn’t want to get stuck in Wisconsin. Would you? The effect is nice, and since the film was obviously on a small budget using the night helped to create a foreboding and sinister look without significant effort.
The driving scenes are well executed and filmed highlighting the talent of director John Murlowski. There were a few stretches of road that looked awfully familiar – aka recycled, but who the heck cares.
There is a *shocking* ending to boot, how shocking is up for interpretation, though. I haven’t seen a movie in this genre that doesn’t end of one of two ways: A) Killer comet dust magically goes away or B) There is a big wreck. Once again, you decide what happens.
Definitely worth a watch – one of the better American horror films from the lackluster 2000s.
Snore Factor: ZZ