Detour (2002) Horror Movie Review
Horror movies Review
What modern day film makers could learn from this one: it was made in only six days with no budget and tells a heck of a deliciously diabolical story in only 67 minutes. I have a very bad copy of this movie on VHS, it is not for everyone, I am sure, but it is for people like me and I give it five stars for what they were able to accomplish with nothing—nothing but a single great storyline, great acting by relative unknowns and great NOIR-y camera angles and deep tones. A poor unmarried couple, played by Tom Neal and Claudia Drake, are struggling to get by. She craves stardom and has a beautiful voice. He plays piano in the (isn’t this precious) Break O’Dawn Club. She decides to leave for Hollywood where she is determined to get discovered as a singer. His heart is ripped out as he continues to take his frustrations out on the piano keys, getting a huge tip, BTW. He can take it no more, he must hitchhike to California to be with his sweetie, Sue. He is finally picked up by a mysterious man. “I never know what to say to strangers driving cars,” he quips to himself for our benefit. The driver lets him in on the fact that a previous hitchhiker, female has scratched him up badly, so he kicked her to the curb. The driver then strangely dies in the night as our friend Al is driving. He realizes he may be blamed with the guy’s death so he ditches the body and continues on, the next day he picks up a female hitchhiker. It soon dawns on him that this is “the scratcher,” played so brilliantly by Ann Savage. She is a true psycho and her rants are only a couple of notches down from the possessed Regan in The Exorcist. In an aside he tells us, she has “a beauty that is almost homely because it is so real.” Psycho-Vixen begins spinning her web of blackmail. She knows the owner of the car is dead and all she has to do is turn Al over to the police, if he doesn’t obey her every command. When they get to LA she demands they get a motel room where she tries in vain to seduce him. She then goes on a drunken binge hurling more epithets at him. He confides to us, “My goose was cooked.” Each time he thinks he has figured out a way to be rid of her, she plots another nefarious scheme. “That’s life. Whichever way you turn, fate sticks out a foot to trip you.” As they both duke it out verbally and physically, the parasitic woman is accidently killed. I will not spoil the ending. This is no GWTW, but it is a little masterpiece in noir films. The background score is beautiful, but comical in that setting. It is very much like other such films and their scores, and I cannot imagine any event in history not having this music playing in the background, a quirk of my own. The camera work is splendid and there is one scene in particular where Sue is singing behind her microphone stand and in the backgroud are not real orchestra members, but black silhouettes, shadows of them on the wall at a slant, great stuff.
The dialogue in this movie is to die for, if you are a true afficionado.
About Detour (2002)
Starring: Tom Neal, Ann Savage, Claudia Drake, Edmund MacDonald, Tim Ryan
Runtime: 67 minutes
Director: Edgar G. Ulmer