Where do you start blogging a film like Freeway (1996) Matthew Bright's first outing as writer and director? Perhaps by telling you it’s a sordid over the top tale of woe based on the European folk tale Little Red Riding Hood or better still starting by describing the brilliant early lead performance of Reese Witherspoon as Vanessa Lust, the poor, illiterate underage teenage daughter of a Los Angeles drug addicted prostitute who is sexually abused by her step father and who encounters a serial killer on the way to live with her grandmother in Stockton – a performance that won her a Best Actress Award. Then there were the movie censorship problems due to graphic language and violent content, cut to enable a NC-17 rating when released in the USA.
When both of her parents get arrested, Vanessa steals the car of her family-services caseworker and heads up the Freeway to live with her paternal grandmother who she has never met. When the cars engine blows it force her to accept a ride from charming and sympathetic Bob Wolverton who tells her he is a youth counsellor. During the journey Vanessa finds herself confessing the sordidly sexual details of her childhood but its not long before Vanessa realises the true identity of her driver - just before he attacks her and declares his intention to murder her and have sex with her corpse! He turns out to have been slaughtering young prostitutes in the Los Angeles area. Thanks to a gun borrowed from her fiancé, Vanessa turns the tables on Bob, shooting him repeatedly and leaving him for dead. Of course it’s not long before the Police catch up with our teenager and she ends up in court. But this is only the beginning of a spiral of depravity for Vanessa.
It also stars some other well-known actors including Kiefer Sutherland as serial killer Bob Wolverton, Dan Hedaya as Detective Garnet Wallace; the brilliant Honey Bunny from Pulp Fiction (1994) Amanda Plummer as Vanessa’s mum from hell Ramona, with the tragic Brittany Murphy playing Rhonda, Vanessa’s heroin addicted lesbian friend. This 1996 exploitation/grindhouse movie is exceptionally good mainly due to that award winning performance from Reese Witherspoon and did manage to garner some very good reviews and is better than its straight to video sequel Freeway 2 Confessions of a Trickbaby (1999)