The best way to approach this movie is with open-mind preparedness for a fun dose of campy comedic horror. It is a film about trick baby, Vanessa, who gets wrapped up with a serial killer. I think the reason this film has a somewhat cult status is the cast – starring Reese Witherspoon and Kiefer Sutherland in this quirky film in very unlikely roles.
Reece Witherspoon was born to play “the good girl”, and that she does over and over again. So it is fun to see Witherspoon in a role like this – sleazy and cussing up a storm, totally different from her typically buttoned up roles. This is her most ambitious role to date, playing a naïve runaway escaping her prostitute mother and molesting stepfather. The air of this film is not as grim as it sounds though. Vanessa is an illiterate, low class, trash-talking firecracker. She refuses to go back into foster care when her tweeker parents are arrested and skips town, planning to reunite with her estranged grandmother.
Unfortunately, Vanessa can’t catch a break and hitches a ride with freeway I-5 serial killer, Bob Wolverton, unbeknownst to her. Vanessa narrowing escapes his wrath, nearly killing him in her defense. But why should the police believe troubled Vanessa when she names Bob the notorious killer? Once again, Vanessa gets the shit end of the stick and has no option but to exact revenge all on her own.
If you have not picked up on it yet, this film has a heavy reference to the Little Red Riding Hood tale. Besides the all-star cast, this is what makes this movie memorable and iconic. Think of it as an updated twisted and perverse version of the old fairy tale. Vanessa (Little Red) is trying to make it to her grandmother’s house only to be thwarted by the big bad wolf aptly names Bob Wolverton. There is another fun reference early on in the film when Vanessa is watching TV and stops briefly at a Little Red Riding Hood cartoon.
Yes, this film is a little cheesy but it is completely original with a highly satisfying ending. I can’t really compare it to any other film because there is nothing like it. This film definitely pushes the lines as far as language, dialogue content, and violence and is hard to ignore the John Waters’ feel with taboos packed in to the brim. It is worth it to find the uncut NC-17 version that is even more over the top. Watch and enjoy the ride!
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