The sun drenched days of summer turn dark and ominous for hitchhiking duo Jack and Véronique when they become inexplicably entangled with a mysterious married couple and a local road kill collector in rural France.
Jack (Andrew Simpson) is a young, displaced Brit hitchhiking his way through the countryside of France after his girlfriend dumped him and stole his luggage in Nice (or so he says), and he just wants to find his way back to England. With his thumb out, the rides have all but dried up when he enters in a specific region of the country where a serial killer’s reputation is beginning to spread. The killer slays indiscriminately – men, women, young and old, with hitchhikers his specialty – and so when Jack meets a beautiful young woman named Veronique (Josephine de la Baume) as her boyfriend breaks up with her and leaves her on the side of the road, the two of them bond because “there’s safety in numbers.” They hitch a ride with an odd character named Grizard (Frederic Pierrot), who has more than several eccentricities, and he takes them to his lavish estate in the country, where he promises a hot meal, warm lodgings for the night, and good English company as his wife is from England, or so he insinuates to Jack, who isn’t quite sure how to proceed. Veronique goes along with the plan, and once they get to the guy’s home, they’re introduced to his clearly spooked and Earth-shattered wife Mary (Barbara Crampton turning in yet another solid career-resurgence performance), who has secrets she’s harboring. As the night progresses, tensions arise and mysterious events clue both Jack and Veronique into the strange vibes going on in the house, and after Veronique disappears by morning, Jack suspects that Grizard and Mary have murdered her, and so in a panic, he ends up running down the road where the real killer might live. After some heavy duty revelations as to the who/what/where/why in regards to the killer’s identity, Jack chooses the path that will define his destiny from there on out.
Road Games is 2016’s surprisingly radical genre film that recalls The Guest from several years ago. From the very first frames of this film, the mood is tense and taut, with a really intense build-up that springs into action in the very last act, rewarding the viewer with truths and consequences. The film is remarkably cast and photographed, with pitch-perfect performances and stunning visuals, and an added bonus is that it has one of those awesome synth scores that have been peppering cool movies over the last few years. A film that gives the road movie a new pulse (but shouldn’t be confused with Richard Franklin’s Road Games from the 80’s), Road Games is vibrant, dangerous, and well crafted. From writer / director Abner Pastoll.