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‘Tailgate’ review: The best and worst of road horror

High tension.

Tailgate is a horror movie from The Netherlands that visits a genre that is not seen as often as it once was. Road horror is an exciting and tense sub genre. The films tend to be action packed and filled with as much adrenaline as terror. The plot here sees a man named Hans taking his family on a drive across the country. An argument he gets into with the driver of a van turns out to be a mistake that turns a simple family trip into something more sinister. 

The movie checks off all of the necessary boxes for this type of film to work. The road scenes are exciting. Director Lodewijk Crijns does a great job of putting the audience into the car. Not only does this help with the fear factor, it also give 5 a sense of claustrophobia that makes things that much more difficult to watch (in a good way).

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The flip side to the rush Tailgate is able to provide are its characters. Much like other films in the genre, the people in the film are very cut and dry. While the family is believable, they also do not have much depth. Hans is a hothead while Ed (the movie’s antagonist) is predictably over the top. In the movie’s defense, these types of movies are more about providing thrills and chills than deep characterization. 

At one time, road horror movies were incredibly popular. The type of panic they provide is almost a throwback to how old scary movies made teenaged audiences feel. In recent years, the sub genre has become under served. Tailgate is a fun addition that genre fans should enjoy.

Tailgate premieres in theaters, virtual cinema, VOD, and digital on July 30


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