Sinister Screens

Freeway (1996) ★★★½



Her life is no fairy tale.

Following the arrest of her mother, Ramona, young Vanessa Lutz decides to go in search of her estranged grandmother. On the way, she is given a ride by school counselor Bob Wolverton. During the journey, Lutz begins to realize that Bob is the notorious I-5 Killer and manages to escape by shooting him several times. Wounded but still very much alive, Bob pursues Lutz across the state in this modern retelling of Little Red Riding Hood.


Freeway is a gritty and fun take on the popular Red Riding Hood fairytale, starring a jacked-up-wrong-side-of-the-tracks-juvenile-delinquent-Sweet-Home-Alabama-esque Reese Witherspoon. And she carries this movie throughout, delivering a dirty sense of justice and karma with a thick southern accent and a spitfire attitude. What’s not to love?

There are quite a few iconic scenes in this film that stood out. Kiefer Sutherland’s character Bob Wolverton showing up in court totally decimated and getting lambasted by Witherspoon’s character Vanessa Lutz was classic. The only scene that featured Grandma was a real shocker. This entire film has fun with transporting the fairytale into the modern urban scene and never takes itself too seriously in doing so.

But back to the nineteen-year-old Reese Witherspoon in this film. This is definitely by far my favorite performance from her. More people need to take note of her character in this film. When life gives you dirty lemons…you squeeze the living hell out of them, wring them seedless and dry and repeat as necessary. The Vanessa Lutz way.

Rating: ★★★½ (out of 5)

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