Overview: After her car breaks down, a textile designer finds herself arguing for her life against a demented mechanic and his sickle-wielding son.
Directed By: Marc Ickx, 2002.
The Case For: Finally, some proof that there's more to the Netherlands than just beautiful vistas and legalized pot.
The Case Against: The movie contains the longest scene of nothing happening in the history of modern cinema.
Making incredibly shitty horror movies has traditionally been a primarily American undertaking. And, like everything America does, I think we do it the best. But it is an ignorant man who turns a blind eye to the shitty movies from other nationalities. We typically think of the Dutch as a pleasant, mellow, good-natured, clog-bearing people who live in windmills. Marc Ickx set out to change that impression, as well as the impression that vowels are a necessity. To that end, he hired himself a cast and put together the film we lovingly call "Junior," a movie destined to show the world that when you're thinking of cinematic excrement, don't forget to look at Holland.
The film begins with a puzzling scene in which a blonde"woman sits brushing her hair slowly, and then applying lipstick slowly. The camera focuses on her long enough for the viewer to wonder... could that... could that actually be a man? There's just something about the limpness of her hair that makes you think it could be a wig. And there's just something about her face that makes you think she could be a transvestite, or possibly a gorilla. I'm told they have both in Holland. The "woman's" elderly maid, Martha, slowly enters the room to ask if she can help with anything else, but the woman slowly sends her away, then slowly slips on the world's frumpiest wedding dress. Seriously, now, this is one frumpy dress. It's hard to look away from it. It's like the puzzle box from "Hellraiser," only instead of being really shiny and incredible intricate, it's frumpy. It raises all sorts of questions, such as, how did it get so frumpy? What kind of demented seamstress was behind its frumpiness? Is there some sort of story of woe, suffering, and love unrequited that led to this degree of frump? Anyway, like I was saying, the woman slowly puts on the frumpy dress, then slowly turns to look at herself in a mirror, and then slowly runs her hands all over the frumpy material. You'll note that a lot of things happen slowly in this scene. This is done to give every line and every action a deliberate, creepy feel. Sadly, though, it doesn't work. Instead, the scene is just really goddamn boring. Downstairs, Martha is getting ready to leave when she hears a sudden thumping sound, like a body falling from a couple stories up. She rushes to the staircase and finds that Frumpty Dumpty went and hanged herself, which really doesn't explain the sound effect. Beautiful.
Leaving the gorilla woman and her frumpulent dress behind, we transition to a bright sunny day where a young black woman named Sandra is standing by her car, looking longingly at an apartment building marked "White Residences." There is something subtly brilliant about that, but sadly, it had nothing to do with Marc Ickx. Sandra's friend Rebecca (who does happen to be white) finally comes out of the building and the two yak and titter about the road trip they are about to go on in a swanky (read: ugly) rental car. After the designated amount of dialogue needed to prove that these two are, in fact, friends has passed, they get into the car and head off. They blast some hip Holland metal to keep up with the breakneck pace which with they cautiously putter down some backwoods path. The two girls keep their spirits up on their journey by singing along with the song, except that the soundtrack isn't cued up quite right, so the girls are never singing the right words at the right time. If you've ever been in a car with someone doing this, you know just how exceedingly annoying it is. Luckily, you can warm yourself with the knowledge that within half an hour, one of these two annoying bitches will be dead.
Rebecca waits and waits, as portrayed by a few seconds of her playing with a plastic bag on a stick, but Sandra doesn't come back. At last, a truck comes by. Rebecca tries to flag it down by waving her arms, honking the horn, and cursing like a sailor, but the truck goes right past her. Fortunately, it was just a psyche out, as the truck returns. The driver, a gentleman of advancing years by the name of Robert, stops and apologizes for going by the first time. Now here's where it gets a bit confusing. Robert is a mechanic. He works out of the gas station. However, he did not come from the gas station. According to his story, he just happened to be going down this random back alley. Amazing, isn't it, that a mechanic would just happen to be driving down this grassy alleyway when a motorist happens to be broken down after pulling into that same alleyway? And even more amazing, he is able to diagnose and temporarily fix the car's problem with what he has handy! What luck! There's nothing even the least bit suspicious about this scenario!
Robert leads Rebecca back to the gas station, but when they arrive, there is no sign of Sandra. While Robert fixes the car, Rebecca goes into the gas station, only to hear Martha yelling at the "dog" from the other side of the door to the back room. She's really letting the dog have it. I guess he was a bad pooch. Something about masturbating, I couldn't make it all out. Whatever it is, Rebecca doesn't raise an eyebrow. She's had a lot of experience with masturbating dogs, I suppose. And haven't we all. Robert, detecting that perhaps having a customer inside the gas station listening to Martha scream at their "dog" might not be the best thing in the world, goes into the back and sends Martha out. Martha tells Rebecca that she hasn't seen her friend, so Rebecca just buys some lighter fluid and takes her newly fixed car out to look for Sandra. I'm not really sure why she is so desperate for that lighter fluid. Perhaps she wants to find Sandra so she can set her on fire. In any case, she drives back to the alley, but no sign of Sandra there, either. So she does the logical thing. If she's not at the gas station, and she's not where the car was supposed to be, and she's not anywhere in between, obviously she has gone on ahead. On foot. For miles. Seriously, Rebecca drives and drives. She eventually winds up in the middle of a huge field, because surely Sandra would be there. Lo and behold, while she is tooling around in this field like an idiot, the car breaks down again. So she does the professional thing: she falls asleep with the door open.
When she wakes up, she is still alone, so her plan didn't work quite as well as she had hoped. Just then, there is a banging sound and the car shakes from side to side, as if something is thrashing in the trunk. Then there is silence. Then the banging starts again and Rebecca spazzes out and hits the horn over and over until it stops. Then silence again. This process repeats for eleven minutes. Eleven minutes. The average American attention span is six seconds. We're talking eleven goddamn minutes of watching this annoying woman flail at her horn and screech while never getting the guts to actually try to find out what's causing this problem. Eleven minutes. That's an entire episode of Space Ghost Coast to Coast. It is only broken up for a few seconds when Rebecca lunges out of the car during a quiet moment to try to wave down a couple in an SUV passing by the field. They don't stop. Rebecca returns to her car, since she's obviously so safe there. The scene goes on. And on. At last, something finally happens, as Rebecca's necklace, the one she gave to Sandra, slides down the windshield. It is immediately followed by a torrent of horrendously fake blood. And then, for good measure, as if to hammer home the point that Sandra is dead and that she did not just lose the necklace while killing the bad guy in an epic battle on top of the car, her severed head bounces off the windshield.
Rebecca, always the inspiring example to children in similar situations everywhere, does the logical thing: she flings open the car door and dives out so awkwardly that her foot gets caught in the seatbelt and she has to spend the next minute and a half trying to get it untangled. The killer stands on top of the car, wielding a sickle. He's hunched over and his head is completely bandaged up for some reason - the universal signs of a madman. Realizing that she can't escape from the car's clutches just yet, Rebecca scrambles back into the car and locks the door, hoping that will save her. The killer is wily for someone who turns out to be completely mentally defective, though, and he manages to pry to sunroof open with his sickle without Rebecca noticing. He grabs her by the hair, but she burns him with the car's cigarette lighter, causing him to let go and do a crazy acrobatic flip off the car's hood. The killer comes around the unlocked passenger side and tries to grab her but in a moment of triumph, Rebecca is actually able to get out of the car without getting herself stuck in anything. Despite his previously demonstrated athletic prowess, the killer isn't the nimblest of guys. Rebecca is able to run around to the trunk, grab a container of gasoline, douse the car, leave a trail of gas leading away from the car, and light the gas before the killer can even get away. After the car explodes, Rebecca starts walking, confident in her victory. She comes across the SUV she had seen earlier along the side of the road, but the man who was driving was slashed to death. Suddenly, Rebecca is hit over the head and blacks out.