Happy October 13th, and therefore the 13th day of my #31DaysOfHorror! I hope your days are going well, and the fall is settling in on all of you. Anyways, I hemmed and hawed about this one, but then remembered that I can review whatever I’d like so, suck it. Here’s Cop Car.
A small town sheriff sets out to find the two kids who have taken his car on a joy ride.
So, about 90% of my reasons for watching this came from my substantial man crush on the wonderful Kevin Bacon. Thankfully, it turned out to be pretty good AND star Kevin Bacon so it was a win win for me. You could certainly argue that this isn’t technically a horror movie (hence my aforementioned hemming and hawing), but it does have a pretty solid line of tension all the way through, and doesn’t shy away from putting children in peril, so it checked a few boxes for me and won itself a little review (You’re welcome). As well as that, the movie comes from director Jon Watts, who previously directed a movie that failed to make much of an impression on me called Clown.
So, is this one a better effort from this director? Absolutely. The movie is paced significantly better, and is considerably better in the casting department. The two kids are pretty likable, for child actors, and their interactions felt quite genuine and real. The movie opens with a scene of the two of them getting each other to swear, and I immediately related to my own childhood. It transpires that these two have run away from home together, and are off to make their way in the big bad world. You get a pretty good idea of who each kid is from their swearing exchange, and the movie doesn’t spend the first half of the movie forcing the innocence and wonder of the children down your throat, which I appreciated.
So, as is plainly spelled out, these kids come across and abandoned cop car and proceed to help themselves to it and set off on an adventure that runs afoul of a corrupt sheriff, played perfectly by Kevin Bacon (Tremors). You really get a sense that his character is panicking, as soon as he comes to find that his cop car (complete with a guy in the trunk) has been stolen, there is no indication that Bacon is some kind of omniscient, evil villain, but a very human character who knows how much trouble he is in. This really helps make the fight between the two boys and Bacon more believable, and makes you really feel the danger that they are in as well. Also starring in the movie are Shea Whigham (Agent Carter) as the man in the trunk, and Camryn Manheim (Ghost Whisperer) as Bev. Both are pretty watchable and do a fine job in smaller parts in this movie.
The action throughout is fast paced, and everything feels quite real. The boys performances really do make the movie the unique thing that it is, and you really feel what they’re going through. The other great thing about the way this movie progresses is that there are no punches pulled in the things that these kids go through. They have guns pointed at their heads, engage in high speed chases, and get themselves into all kinds of trouble that is likely to stress out people who are more inclined to be stressed out by things involving children. Particularly the ending, which leaves things open ended and not on the best of terms for one or both of the boys (~spoiler avoidance~). Bacon is quite sinister and really makes his presence known in the movie. There’s not much to say without talking about the performances because that really is what brings the movie together in the end.
Overall the movie delivered in all of the places that Clown didn’t, and really pushed forward the idea that Watts might have a bunch of really great stuff on the way. With that said, his next movie appears to be a Spider-Man reboot so maybe I’m speaking to soon on that one. Either way, this is a solid little movie with solid tension and a very believable bunch of performances. Definitely giving this a recommend.
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