North Bend Film Fest 2021 Review: Tailgate

  • Director: Lodewijk Crijns
  • Writer: Lodewijk Crijns
  • Stars: Jeroen Spitzenberger, Anniek Pheifer, Roosmarijn van der Hoek

Review

Toddler tantrums, excessively long wait times, the airport, the DMV, waiting in the exam room for 45 minutes, these are all things that can cause even the most calm and laid back person to lose their patience. None of these things hold a candle to someone with road rage, though, and Dutch film Tailgate (Bumperkleef) is here to exploit that.

Screening at the Northbend Film Festival, Tailgate imagines what would happen if someone decided they were no longer going to accept poor etiquette on the roadways and, instead, take justice into their own hands. Ed (Willem de Wolf) looks like a regular guy: he’s very clean cut and drives a nondescript white van that is full of what appears to be cleaning and/or exterminating supplies and chemicals. In the cold open of the film, we learn exactly what he does with these chemicals to someone who has irked him and, honestly, it’s not something I have ever seen in a horror movie before.

If only Hans (Jeroen Spitzenberg) knew what Ed would have in store for him because Hans starts the movie already agitated with his wife and two daughters. The four of them are expected at Hans’s mother’s house and they are already running 30 minutes late. Straight away, the tone of Tailgate is very tense: a lot of bickering between Hans and his wife Diana (Anniek Pheifer) and arguing between the two girls. It’s all very relatable, as is the tailgating that happens to Hans while on the road. Naturally, he becomes a little worried about the tailgating, but then begins to race the other driver and narrowly avoids a collision. Rather than learning from this incident, he takes it as a tip on how to make people drive faster and, of course, this is how he ends up tailgating Ed.

Really, all Ed wants is an apology and it’s not out of line, but he’s asking for it from the wrong person: Hans is a proud man who is not going to apologize when he doesn’t believe he has done anything wrong. While a lot of what transpires is, hopefully, out of the realm of possibility in the real world, it does make for a fun time. Most of the film takes place in the car and this is very well done. As Ed’s chase intensifies, so does the tension, fear and claustrophobia of being trapped in your own car. With two screaming children.

When the action leaves the vehicles and moves into a quiet neighborhood, this is when you really need to suspend belief, but just go with it. Tailgate takes a very common stress of modern life and turns it into a real life horror that is, at times, genuinely suspenseful and it all wraps up with one of the better final scenes in a horror movie in a while.

Playing at North Bend Film Festival

Lisa Fremont

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