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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 24.53%
Just Average: 13.21%
Pretty Crappy: 7.55%
Sucks: 1.89%

2 reviews, 41 user ratings

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Black Cadillac
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by David Cornelius

"Yes, it's a rip-off. But it's still fun."
3 stars

“Black Cadillac” is little more than a low rent, backwoods “Duel.” And yet it works. It manages to balance story and thrills will a surprisingly amount of ease. Better still, it’s even able to provide us with believable characters - something thrillers, especially those of the B variety, rarely do.

The film opens in some road house dive in Wisconsin, where loose ID checks and cheap beer get all the Minnesota boys to cross the state line. And so college boy Scott (Shane Johnson), hardass buddy C.J. (Josh Hammond), and little bro Robby (Jason Dohring) are living it up at this dive, finding chicks, getting drunk, the usual. A barroom brawl leaves them speeding their way back home, the cold, quiet night leaving them little else to do but talk about sex, college, sex, beer, and sex.

I found myself impressed by the way screenwriter Will Aldis and director John Murlowski (whose own backwoods experiences, he claims, inspired the story) handled these boys. A typical thriller would rush through these opening scenes, barely bothering to establish the characters before piling on the goods. Here, however, things run, well, not at a slower pace, as that would make it seem lifeless, but at its own speed. The filmmakers want us to be comfortable with these kids, comfortable with the idea of spending an hour and half in a car with them.

And we are. I liked the way these guys talked - like real guys. Robby’s enthusiasm for discussing his first sexual encounter, Scott’s why’d-I-have-to-drag-my-little-brother-along attitude… these feel like actual people, something I was not expected to find in such a project.

By spending a little quality time with these kids, we’re allowed to settle in a bit before the plot gets all crazy on us. For starters, the boys pick up a state trooper (Randy Quaid) whose car just froze over and needs a lift; Quaid’s oddball style works perfectly here, as his carefree boys-will-be-boys attitude toward the guys’ partying comes off as too strange. Where’s this story taking us?

It takes us to the car of the title, a wicked, growling beast that begins to chase our boys through the backroads of Wisconsin. Again, where’s this headed?

For its low budget, “Black Cadillac” is quite capable of whipping up some effective thrills. Yes, we’ve seen such material before (and not just in “Duel,” but in every evil car movie that followed it), and yet here we don’t mind. The cast - especially Quaid, who’s a hoot to watch in action here - keeps the story plowing forward at breakneck speed, while Murlowski is able to hide all the low budget seams, dragging the film ahead with a firm grasp on the notions of rhythm and mood. (It’s hard to believe that this is the same Murlowski who’s spent a career pumping out fourth-rate direct-to-video duds. Here, somehow, he shows a knack for fast filmmaking that’s been sorely lacking in his other efforts.)

The film derails in the final act, as the dark mystery of the car gets revealed to be quite the letdown. Granted, after so much energy was spent building up the anonymity of the Caddy, I doubt any reveal would have been satisfying. But this one feels like the filmmakers were struggling for a solution, so they just grabbed the first one available to them, leaving the movie on too much of a flat note. (Also, the script begins to give a bit too much importance to a “mystery” surrounding C.J.’s scar. It’s one piece of character development that doesn’t quite click.)

That said, the rest of the film is sufficiently capable of entertainment that it becomes immune to the clunky finale. This is solid B work, a quick bite of thrills that gratifies. The tension is fierce, the action sequences plenty exciting. It doesn’t measure up to its influences, to be sure, but on its own, it stands as a nifty, doable chase picture that’s good for a nice rental.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=7670&reviewer=392
originally posted: 05/17/05 16:02:12
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Tribeca Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Tribeca Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

12/23/09 FangBanger497 Entertaining movie. Great to watch on a vacation in the mountains/woods during the winter 4 stars
7/29/07 Matt Great! I love how the Caddy's exhaust burbles like a musclecar as it approaches them 4 stars
3/18/07 king i want the hitory of black caddilac 5 stars
10/03/06 Haras Shane and Jason were so awesome!!! I love they both... 5 stars
9/22/06 Zaw WTF 13 year old hangout here now!!?? Great movie! 5 stars
5/14/06 Natasha The best car chase/ college life flic! Jason Dohring is at his most innocent and sexy ever. 5 stars
11/22/05 Guy Well-acted, fast-paced, suspenseful, and creepy road trip horror thriller. 5 stars
11/01/05 tatum Not a bad little flick 4 stars
8/22/05 shanerules very good movie, shane was awesome 5 stars
8/14/05 mysterio You can't be serious, this movie was mind-numbingly boring. I wanted to die. 1 stars
6/15/05 brittany it really great 5 stars
5/31/05 Annie average goofy Randy Quaid flick 2 stars
5/21/05 Paige D. JOSH HAMMOND! MARRY ME!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
4/28/05 Stacy McQueen Suspense! Its good for a B movie! 4 stars
9/16/04 Sherry Ridenour Good, suspenseful movie, very spooky, something happening around every corner 5 stars
8/25/04 Chantelle watched it,and loved it by the way Josh is soooo fuckin hot 2 stars
8/24/04 Nina o ebba josh hammond is sooooooooo hot...!ih my god 5 stars
7/30/04 JT Josh Hammond is hot? What about Marije Droog!!! By The Way, The movie is fantastic... 5 stars
7/17/04 joey the movie rocks it is so good everyone should see it 5 stars
7/14/04 Angel josh hammond is hot i loved this movie!!!!! 5 stars
5/15/04 Jesse Slone I likes thismovie, why did it not go big??? 5 stars
4/21/04 Maria I really loved this movie. I saw it several times. 5 stars
4/12/04 Kevin Schroeijers I thought it was the guy that was knocked down in the bar... it wasn't.. great movie! 5 stars
3/14/04 Slosh Hammond Josh is my twin brother and this movie rocked! 5 stars
3/14/04 jason loved it 5 stars
1/28/04 Liss Josh Hammond is hot? What about Shane Johnson? Shane also does some impressive acting. 4 stars
1/12/04 Brian I think the movie was OK but it kind of sucked. 2 stars
12/19/03 jo straps I am Josh Hammond's cousin and this film kicked butt! It was eery and really good! 5 stars
11/29/03 Pat W Suprisingly engaging and funny! 5 stars
11/23/03 Diane Keeps you guessing, especially about Charlie, entertaining & funny at times. Worth a look. 4 stars
11/14/03 Lynne Kilii I enjoyed the snow and ice action scenes. Used to live in Minnesota. 5 stars
11/14/03 Jacque DuBois Randy does a nice job. 5 stars
10/25/03 John Baranyai This movie and is pretty scary because most of the action takes place on a lonely dark coun 5 stars
10/05/03 Kelli Sykes best movie! so scary! i felt like i was there with them! great acting and directing!!!!!!!! 5 stars
8/31/03 fil BORING 2 stars
8/18/03 Sherina Hammond I liked the movie it was great !! And Josh Hammond is totally hot !! 5 stars
7/20/03 samara and megan wicked, best in da world man 5 stars
6/22/03 Melissa Johnstone the film was average but josh hammond is beautiful 3 stars
6/07/03 Pat Walczak riveting 5 stars
5/22/03 Meredith Welling Really awesome movie! 5 stars
5/19/03 Drew Murlowski My Uncle is John Murlowski, And I Liked it 4 stars
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  14-May-2003 (R)
  DVD: 17-May-2005



Directed by
  John Murlowski

Written by
  Will Aldis

  Shane Johnson
  Josh Hammond
  Jason Dohring
  Adam Vernier
  Randy Quaid

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