I just happened to be scrolling through the guide on my TV one night when I stumbled across this film. I decided to DVR it since it said it was based off of a short story by Stephen King. I didn’t have high hopes for it since it was a made-for-TV movie but I decided to give it a try today. I have to say, there was not one dull moment in this surprising little film.
Maria Bello (Prisoners, Secret Window, A History of Violence, Grown Ups) plays successful novelist, Tess Thorn. Tess is on her way back from giving a speech for a women’s group when she decides to take a short cut home to avoid traffic as suggested by the women’s club President. We all know short cuts are a bad idea! Tess ends up on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere with a flat tire and no cellphone service. A huge man in a big truck shows up to “help” ...
and Tess ends up raped and beaten to an inch of her life.
As a woman, anxiety and fear immediately hit my stomach as I watched Tess in such a vulnerable position. Being stranded on the side of the road is one of the worst situations a woman can be in. I really need to learn how to change a tire after watching this movie. The reason this movie is so scary to me is because of the realness. Unfortunately, things like this happen to women more than we know.
Left for dead, Tess wakes up...
in a sewer next to other dead bodies, more sad victims of the sadistic truck driver.
Instead of going to the authorities with her assault case and drawing attention to herself in the media, Tess decides to take matters into her own hands. REVENGE films may be my favorite subgenre. There is nothing better than rooting for a victim turned assassin. Strong characters are good characters and Tess is fearless.
This movie is basically a one woman show so there are a lot of scenes of Tess talking to voices in her head. The inner-friend voices may not come off so great on film, but this is a technique that Stephen King often uses in stories that revolve around a single character. The latest King novel I read was Gerald’s Game and it completely blew my mind and kept me up at night. Gerald’s Game is a fine example of this technique that he routinely uses.
This is a made-for-TV movie so there isn’t a lot of gore, though I was surprised by the painful rape scene. This is a pretty straight forward revenge thriller, but with any King story you can expect some surprises along the way. The overall story ended up being a lot more aggressive than I expected and Maria Bello puts on a fabulous performance. Big Driver gives a good name for TV movies and hopefully this will be just the beginning of a new era for made-for-TV movies.
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