Movie Review: The Car (1977)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1977 thriller starring James Brolin and Kathleen Lloyd.

Synopsis: A small desert town is terrorized by an indestructible black sedan with no driver. When the local sheriff is killed, Chief Deputy Wade Parent must figure out a way to stop the vehicle, which is apparently possessed by an evil spirit. As the body count rises, he must pull out all stops and put his own life on the line in and effort to end its killing spree.

Review

I recorded this film off of one of our movie channels some time ago and finally decided to watch it tonight. At first, I wasn't really sure what to expect, mostly because it sounded a bit too similar to other killer car movies I've watched, like ChristineHowever, after seeing it, I have to admit it was better than I thought it would be.

There were a couple things I found I really liked about this movie. One of the main ones was the feeling of hopelessness that tagged along with the car whenever it was on the screen. Since it seemed to be pretty much unstoppable, it really did have me wondering just how Wade (Brolin) would find a way to save the day.

Another thing I liked about this movie is it wasn't as predictable as I thought it would be. I don't want to give away too many spoilers, but there was at least one death in this movie I honestly wasn't expecting. That doesn't happen too much in films like this, especially to someone who is one of the main stars, so it was definitely unique enough to catch my attention.

I also found I was impressed with the way the car's "victims" were written. Usually, in movies like this, the victims don't do much more than scream and run away. Or, there is something about them that makes me dislike them enough to want the bad guy to kill them. This time around, the victims, especially Brolin's girlfriend, Lauren (Lloyd), weren't afraid to stand up to and even insult the car. As I've said in the past, the best horror movie victims are the ones that try to fight back.

There were a couple things about this movie I did find I didn't like. One of them was the ending. Part of the problem was I thought it was a little drawn out. It also would have been nice if Wade's plan had been a little more of a surprise. Instead, it was pretty much spelled out so everyone (including, potentially, the demon car) knew what was happening.

I also feel as though there should have been a bit more to the story when it came to Wade's relationship to the car, which seemed, at times, to be almost reluctant to kill him. It had a couple opportunities to do so and the worst it wound up doing to him was leaving him unconscious. In fact, I'm actually a little confused about why it even bothered chasing him during the final fight, especially since it gave up chasing him only a couple minutes earlier.

Final Opinion

Again, there were a couple things I didn't like about this movie. However, overall, I thought it was an entertaining film and would still recommend it.

My Grade: B

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Updated: 06/16/2019, StevenHelmer
 
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