Stephen King's infamously bad film of one of his own short stories certainly lives up to expectations: it's pretty dire. Still, there are plenty of things to laugh at and if you keep your expectations low then you can't be disappointed. The main problem with the film is that the premise of machinery coming to life isn't scary, but in fact, it's funny. The film doesn't know whether to make us scared or make us laugh, so it tries to do both, which is something very difficult. The result is that it's neither funny (in an intentional way) or scary. It's just weird.
The best bits have to be at the beginning where we get a varied selection of killer machinery, from a lawnmower to a coke machine, which shoots cans at a group of kids playing baseball in one hilarious scene which you won't believe has been filmed. It's so stupid that all you can do is laugh, especially when one guy is brained by a can. Death by flying coke! Well, at least the film was partly original. There are other funny bits too, such as a lawnmower trying to be threatening, people who've been killed by electric car windows (I find it hard to believe that some people were so stupid that they sat with their heads through the car windows), plus the expected Stephen King cameo in which a bank machine swears at him.
Sadly, though, from then on it's all downhill, as we get trapped in a boring location with a boring group of bad actors and a boring threat, i.e. a group of trucks. The trouble is that while a short film may have worked, there really is nowhere to go with the truck story, they run people over but that's about all they're capable of. They even put a big green goblin face to try and make one of the trucks scary but it jut didn't work. Maybe the producers interfered when they saw how bad the filming was going, I don't know, but some bright spark had the idea to add some action sequences, i.e. gratuitous gunfire, into the film to perhaps make it more exciting. They failed, but at least it added to the bloodshed. The funniest moments have to be when the proud Americans attack the trucks with a rocket launcher and blast them apart, cheering wildly while they do so. Although the machines do retaliate by using a machine gun to wipe out about half of the survivors in a bloody massacre.
The acting, as I mentioned above, is pretty bad. Emilio Estevez sleepwalks through the film on autopilot, he obviously thought he was the next best thing at this period in his life, but oh no, just look at his career in the '90s. Pat Hingle is about the only good actor in it as the obnoxious diner owner, but any enjoyment of the cast's acting is destroyed by the presence of one Yeardley Smith, whose snotty, whiny screaming and yelling is definitely the worst point of the entire film and difficult to sit through without cringing in embarrassment. To add insult to injury, she doesn't even die! Still, despite all the faults, the unintentional comedy makes this one easier to sit through than it might have been. Where else could you see an electric knife 'attack' a woman, a kid run over by a steamroller (played for laughs, amazingly), killer coke cans and people getting splattered by trucks left, right, and centre?