The premise of the film is simple: a squid-like creature with the ability to camouflage itself as anything in order to hunt its prey, has a particular penchant for cars. We see him out in the 'wild' (aka Chicago), eating some moronic club goers. But, when he gets into an accident, and is taken to a small garage run by a skeleton staff of randoms, the car decides to have a game of hide and eat... (sorry for terrible punnage... I'm bad for that!)
Our rag tag team of mechanics (with, what seems to have become recently obligatory in horror movies, the tough-but-not-butch female mechanic character), the dickhead boss and the secretery in the tiny skirt, work out pretty quickly what is going on (after a few of them get eaten first, of course) and quickly decide to capture the beast to see if it's worth some money.
So, trapped in the large building, the crew attempt to bring down the monster, while the monster (disguised as various vehicles) attempts to devour the whole staff. (He's a very hungry squid monster).
They seemed to very suddenly jump to the correct conclusion on what the creature is and seem to be completely unfazed by this, which always annoys me.
This film was very well put together and the background music is very.... Batman-y.... The production is very professional and the editing is excellent.
I liked the noises the monster car made, too. Something between an engine and a stomach growl. The animal morphs into a car, he's not wearing it like a suit, so the almost organic noise was very fitting.
The SFX of the monster were pretty good, considering budget, but they began to show too much, kind of spoiling what was otherwise a nifty little effect. I enjoyed the car's red vision as well.
I was confused as to how it ate the people, though. At first I thought it filled up with a kind of stomach acid goop and dissolved them like a venus flytrap (which I thought was suitably horrifying), but later it looked more like it had the tentacles and its mouth within the car cockpit... I liked the acidic idea more.
The car manages to have it's own presence as a creature, though, in the same way that "Christine" always does. So, I must commend them for that! It sneaks about convincingly and, similar to 'Robert the tyre' in "Rubber", it seems to waver between normal and menacing.
I wasn't too enthralled with the characters. The lead female was a bit of a moan, and the war hero mechanic angle wasn't played on enough with the most likable male character. It just seemed kind of thrown in there. There was also a lot of useless sub-plot build up for no reason: lazy boyfriend, cousin/nephew, war hero.... Wasted man-eating car screen time if you ask me!
The dickhead boss had so much promise, but he just didn't seem to be well rounded enough as a character. It seemed to me, to be written like a Bruce Campbell character, but they just didn't give the actor enough of the quips to take him from an asshole to a good-guy-with-asshole-tendencies.
While I've seen a lot better, I was pleasantly surprised by the professionalism in this film, and found the story suitably batshit crazy and also very well put together! It's worth watching if you're in the mood to watch a bunch of mechanics try to trap a monster car in a garage. If you're looking for guts, gore or jumps, it's probably not for you.
[Picture: Anchor Bay]