Trying to get home with no other means available, Jack finds himself hitchhiking on the French countryside. Not being fluent on what is known as «The Language Of Love” the English tourist meets Véronique, a local girl with plans to travel the world, and with almost the same bad luck as Jack doing it. Time passes and the couple is still stuck on the same spot, which makes the girl wonder if the reason that the cars are not stopping is because that stretch of the road is rumored to be the hunting grounds of a serial killer.
After spending a night on the woods and more unsuccessful attempts to get a ride, Jack climbs aboard the car of the only person that stops, despite the protests of Véronique. Some miles later on the road, claiming that the ferry that travels from France To England already closed for the day, Grizard, the kind (but clearly kind of weird) driver invites the couple to spend the night at his house in company of his wife, promising to take them to the ferry the next morning.
As you might guess, Grizard’s wife Mary receives the visitors with open arms, but as soon as Jack and Véronique enter the mansion, they start to get an eerie, creepy feeling that something might be not quite right with their hosts, this suspicion gets stronger when the dinner ends in a conversation that can be called awkward to say the least. Things gets even stranger when the next day Grizard tells Jack that he will have to leave and continue his trip by himself and that Véronique left the house earlier that morning, leaving Jack just a parting note.
Not completely believing Grizard’s story, but also without any clues a to where Véronique might have gone, Jack hits he road. As luck would have it, some minutes later, he is attacked and kidnapped by a stranger, thus beginning a story of intrigue and violence that remind us that even the best intentions can have fatal consequences.
“Road Games” may seem like an average indie film with an overused and predictable plot, but is far from it. The story has several points that helps her to stand out from others, and without going for the easy shock and gratuitous violence, the film at several moments makes us wonder if Jack will be able to get out alive from the mess he got pulled into by Grizard, a character that I would like to point out, is as charismatic as is disturbing. The pacing of the film was good and it managed to create an eerie atmosphere due in part by Daniel Elms’s score.
Although the film starts very strong, I’m sure some people will guess the twists a little bit early on, but what makes them work (and also makes them more eerie and effective) is that although we, as the audience can solve the puzzle with the pieces and clues we are been given, Jack (mostly due the language barrier) might not be able to guess in time just how big is the trouble he is in. That feeling of dread for not being able to help the character every time we see is close to death is something that lots of films have tried (and failed) to insert into the audience and “Road Games” managed to do it almost effortlessly.
The acting overall was very good, but I though Frédéric Pierrot was the best with his portray of Grizard. Every time his character tried to earn Jack’s trust with a smile, I was finding myself waiting for him to pull a knife or to have a violent episode. If I were to complain about the acting, it would have to be about Barbara Crampton. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think she was bad at all. It just happens that this is the third film in a row that I see her in doing a similar disturbed character (“You’re Next” and “We Are Still Here” would be the previous ones) and I believe that being that she is a really talented actress, her character here could be a little bit more developed, but that just my opinion.
“Road Games” was directed and written by Abner Patroll, and has the talents of Andrew Simpson, Joséphine de La Baume, Frédéric Pierrot and Barbara Crampton in the cast. The film is a very entertaining thriller, worth watching more than once, and even has a musical track by Carpenter Brut that I dug a lot.
The film is already available on VOD and will have a screening in Los Ángeles on March 11th, 2016