Stop me if you’ve heard this before…man in the shadows targets an unsuspecting victim with a rifle and expects said victim to do his bidding. Yes we’ve seen this many times in the past, but those films actually had an objective and a conclusion. The problem with Roadside is that is suffers from being a been there, seen that, thriller with little payoff that will leave you scratching your head as to what the point of the film even was.
Dan Summers (Ace Marrero) and his pregnant wife, Mindy (Katie Stegeman) are on a road trip to Dan’s sisters for a family get together during Christmas time. Trying to get to their destination before the weather turns bad, the couple travel down a desolate mountain highway when they come across a dead tree trunk in the road. When Dan gets out of the SUV to remove the trunk, a voice out of nowhere instructs Dan not to move. Confused about the situation he finds himself in, Dan soon comes to realize that he and Mindy are being held hostage on the side of the road by a mysterious man with a gun. As the temperatures continue to plummet and the situation becoming dire, Dan must find a way to escape the impending doom the couple finds themselves in before this game of cat and mouse comes to a tragic end.
Roadside’s premise isn’t overly original, but the setting does add a different dimension to the overall telling of this play out concept. Being stranded in the middle of nowhere in the dead of winter should add enough drama to keep the audience engaged while the story unfolds, except, there is no story, there is no point, there is absolutely no reason why this situation is happening! All we know is that there’s someone with a gun and he is pointing it at this couple, for some reason. Roadside is a frustrating film because you want to connect with the events and the characters, but neither are enjoyable. At no point do you care about what is happening to this couple because they are so unlikable. At no point can you take the gunman seriously because he sounds like a commercial spokesman trying to sell you fear. Director Eric England seems to have an idea as to where to take this film, but gets lost along the way. England reaches for the proverbial Hitchcock inspired ending but adds more confusion than awe. It’s a shame because there’s a template there for a great film, it’s just not this one.
1 1/2 out of 5
After Credit Scene?