(2007) dir. Stuart Gordon
From director Stuart Gordon, proud cult filmmaker of such B-moive gems as Re-Animator (1985) and From Beyond (1986), comes a horror/thriller flick inspired by one of the most gruesome and inhumane real life events of recent years (and that is saying something). It’s the story of an assistant in an elder care community (Mena Suvari), who after partying the night away and driving while dialing her cell phone, strikes a homeless man (Stephen Rea), so that he gets lodged in her windshield. Then, rather than risk being caught and jeopardizing her promotion, leaves him “stuck” in the windshield in her garage, to die.
This is the first of my horror film romp up to Halloween. I’d read that this film was actually a fairly decent social satire, which it is. It’s also moderately humorous, quite gruesome, and rather scathing in a sense toward humanity’s lack of humanity.
“Inspired” by a real event, in which this actually did happen, the film plays out much of the actuality of the event, as the man survived the crash and begged for help, while the woman simply let him die. If he had gotten medical help, he could have survived. And the funny thing is that Gordon doesn’t play up Suvari’s character to be out-and-out evil. Though she has hideous cornrows, she is a humane person in a job that requires caring. And while she was on drugs at the time of the event, she is morally troubled. But she sinks into a ruthlessness and inhumanity like a rapidly spiralling into mad, selfish psychosis, actually trying hard to kill Rea, who actually tries really hard to escape when he cannot get help.
It’s not high art, not even sparkling in its social critiques or humor, but it’s a pretty decent flick. Rea’s character is a man just knocked to the streets who can’t get human kindness from his landlord, from the career center where he goes to try to get a job, from the police that won’t let him sleep on a park bench. The only one who shows humanity is another homeless man. Rea looks beaten down at the best of times, but his own humanity is ultimately what drives the film. Kinda weird, I guess, getting a sense of such stuff from a movie about a guy stuck in a car windshield.