Killing Car – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

The oddly titled Killing Car is about a mysterious woman and her quest for vengeance. This vengeance is achieved through the ever popular killing spree. This spree also provides clues for the audience so that we can figure out just who this woman is and why she’s going around killing people.

In a nice change of pace, instead of having a moment where all the clues suddenly fall into place to reveal the mystery, each clue allows the viewer to figure out a good portion of what happened. The early clues give a general idea of the event and the later ones fill in the missing details.

Unfortunately, the movie combines these clues with some foreshadowing that gives away the movie’s big twist about 45 minutes before it actually happens. I had my own idea as to what the final twist was going to be, but then one of the character’s has a brief voiceover which not only told me that my first idea was wrong, but gave away what the real ‘surprise’ was going to be.

Another problem with the movie can be somewhat blamed on its structure. For the most part, the movie feels more like a series of vignettes. In each one, we are introduced to some characters, the mysterious woman shows up and a confrontation ensues. The character introductions are handled via some extremely clunky exposition. The situation is particularly bad in one vignette where the character is alone and thus has to deliver her exposition against a telephone.

Even more problems with the movie can be found in the woman’s plan for vengeance. For one thing, she shows no hesitation at killing random bystanders to achieve her aims. If your goal is to get even for a perceived wrong that was done to you, killing innocent people isn’t really the best way to go about it. One could argue that she is just killing witnesses so that the police can’t find her before she gets her revenge; however, if she was worried about that sort of thing, it seems like she would avoid killing some of her victims in public locations in broad daylight.

There’s also the problem of just how the woman was able to find her victims in the first place. Without giving away exactly what happened to the woman that lead to her quest for revenge in the first place, I’ll just say that the event would have left her in no location for taking note of her surroundings.

In addition, her plans are poor, at best. The success of the plans often require not only a large amount of luck, but for her intended targets to react rather illogically.

Speaking of illogical reactions, it would seem that Rollin was, at times, unable to cordon off the public areas in which he was filming. On more than one occasion, two characters will be engaged in a shootout and someone will stroll by in the background, perhaps walking their dog, not paying the least bit of attention to the commotion the characters are causing. It’s a lot harder to take a situation seriously when people in the shot clearly are not doing so.

Despite the occasional lack of logic or ludicrous nonchalance from bystanders, a number of the confrontations are quite suspenseful. The director, Jean Rollin, does an excellent job setting up tension in the showdowns, even when the outcome is never in doubt. The music that plays during these scenes really helps to ratchet up the tension level as well.

Ultimately, Killing Car is a movie with a solid premise and some neat ideas that gets bogged down in the execution of those ideas. It’s watchable, but it is also heavily flawed.

The video is presented in 1.33:1 and the quality is mediocre. There are also some issues with flicker near the end of the film. The audio, on the other hand, is only stereo but it is well done.

At a glance, this film boasts an impressive array of extras. Unfortunately, only one of them is of any substance (and two are actively useless).

Virgins and Vampires – An episode of the TV show, Euroitka, that focused on the career of Jean Rollin. This is a mostly linear tour through the movies that Rollin has made over the year. An interesting retrospective but most of the episode deals with Rollin’s more unusual films and less than a minute of the 25 minute run time is spent on Killing Car.

Stills Gallery – A handful of still shots from the movie.

Jean Rollin Filmography – A list of the films Jean Rollin has made. The font is blurry and quite difficult to read.

Redemtion USA Trailers – Trailers for Nature Morte and Aquarium.

Blood & Dishonour Teaser – A still image and text teaser for the book, Blood & Dishonour. To call it bizarre would be an understatement.

Contact Redemption – Contact information (in the form of a snail mail address and website) for Redemption. In case you hadn’t heard of Google, I guess.

Killing Car is far from a great movie. Still, there are some neat bits, and the unusual approach to an unfolding mystery is appreciated. The replay value is pretty low however and most of the extras are useless so this one is, at best, a rental.

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Redemption Films presents Killing Car. Directed by: Jean Rollin. Starring: Tiki Tsang, Frederique Hayman, Jean-Jacques Lefeuvre, Karine Swenson, and Jean-Rene Gossard. Running time: 90 minutes. Rating: NR. Released on DVD: April 29, 2008. Available at Amazon.com

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