- 1 hr 41 min
Roadgames is a tense thriller from 1981 that takes place on the highways of Australia. The movie stars Stacy Keach as Quid, a truck driver who is transporting a load of meat through the outback. Along the way, he soon discovers he is not alone on the road. A serial killer is on the loose and Quid has become his next target. As the eerie and suspenseful movie unfolds, Quid's paths cross with a free-spirited hitchhiker, played by Jamie Lee Curtis, and the two of them become unlikely allies. They work to track down and identify the serial killer, while their own lives are in jeopardy. The movie has an unsettling atmosphere that is enhanced by its outback setting, the barren and unforgiving Australian landscape that provides the perfect backdrop for this thrilling chase through the dusty outback roads. The vast emptiness of the landscape and the seemingly endless stretches of highway add to the movie's tension, as the killer and his victim navigate the isolated roads. The characters are all well drawn, and both Keach and Curtis deliver standout performances. Keach's Quid is a gruff, no-nonsense truck driver, frustrated by the incompetence of other drivers on the road but ultimately a good guy in a bad situation. Curtis's character, nicknamed 'Hitch,' is unpredictable and often mysterious, offering a possible romantic angle with her and Quid's dynamic. Marion Edward provides an excellent supporting performance, playing a truck driver who serves as a likable comic relief character who occasionally helps to move the plot forward. One of the strengths of Roadgames' story is how it slowly unveils itself. Initially, the killer appears only as a vague threat, limited to sporadic attacks on other travelers who are mentioned on the radio or Quid's interaction with roadside locals. Quid's mounting concern over the situation, coupled with the tension between him and Hitch as their relationship evolves, sets the stage for the gripping and suspenseful conclusion. The movie's pacing is slow but deliberate, which turns out to be a strength as the winding and evocative road trip finally leads to an explosive climax. The long and increasingly intense road sequences establish a palpable sense of unease, and the film's twists and turns keep viewers guessing until the very end. The film's direction by Richard Franklin is noteworthy. He creates a sense of uncertainty in the viewer that matches the unpredictability of the film's antagonist. Franklin's use of the outback's isolation and sparsity heightens the suspense, making the vast territory feel like an active and shifting player in the story. At points when the aspect of the challenge and danger is high, the film counterbalances with humor that is natural and does not take away from the experience. Overall, Roadgames is a masterful thriller that offers a unique twist on the serial killer genre by placing its protagonists in a beautifully realized and isolated world. It's a classic road trip adventure with a terrifying but wholly believable twist that makes it an unforgettable viewing experience. The film is a must-see for anyone who loves a good thriller, as well as for those who enjoy films about the power of human resilience in the face of danger. Roadgames remains one of the underrated genre films of the 1980s.