Every day, millions of people descend into underground parking garages, get into their cars and drive to the safety of their homes. But tonight, five levels down in a deserted corporate park... Read allEvery day, millions of people descend into underground parking garages, get into their cars and drive to the safety of their homes. But tonight, five levels down in a deserted corporate parking structure, financial analyst Tom Weaver won't be going home. After finishing a late ni... Read allEvery day, millions of people descend into underground parking garages, get into their cars and drive to the safety of their homes. But tonight, five levels down in a deserted corporate parking structure, financial analyst Tom Weaver won't be going home. After finishing a late night business deal, Tom arrives at section E5 of the garage only to discover his car won't ... Read all
As inherently silly as that mixture might be, it could work if written, directed and acted carefully enough. With the exception of Dan Mundell as Eddie, who is delightfully campy and over the top--he almost reminded me of Don Knotts as a bizarre Barney Fife, the performances in Throttle are nothing to write home about, but they're good enough. And director James Seale has the mechanics of basic thriller and slasher/stalker scenes down pat. Those two facets make this film almost work. Almost.
What kills it is the script. Unfortunately, Seale was also one of the writers, along with Neil Elman, but the principal cast is also partly to blame, because they should have caught the problems with the script at various stages of making the film. For example, we're shown that the lead character, Tom Weaver (Grayson McCouch) is trapped in an office building's parking garage. His car has been disabled. But this is a parking garage that people are still using, meaning that they're driving their cars out of it--we see people leaving their offices and getting in their cars to go home, and there are one or two security guards on duty. For most of the film, you keep asking yourself, "Okay, why doesn't he just walk down the ramps and out of the garage? How stupid is this guy?" He actually begs people to give him a ride out of the garage, but it never hits him to just simply walk the path that cars would take.
Well, it turns out that there's not only a security "turnpike" bar in the garage, but also a gate that can be closed and not driven through. Also, there's a reason that the security guards might not open or be able to open the gate. But we're not shown either of these facts until almost the end of film--and they wouldn't make much sense until then. But that's bad writing, because we need a reason that Tom can't or wouldn't try to just walk out of the garage right away, near the beginning of the film . . . at least if we're not to conclude that he must have been lobotomized. Additionally, there's a red herring character that got into the garage somehow, so that somewhat negates the reasons that Tom couldn't have just walked out.
This kind of writing plagues the whole film. Another example--a truck is chasing Tom through the garage, trying to run him over, and he frequently just stands in the way, even though the garage is filled with obstacles that a vehicle couldn't easily go around (or through), like other cars and concrete pillars. Tom keeps making inane decisions like that, even at the very end of the film, but I don't want to detail them all. Besides I don't have room. Detailing them all would take many thousands of words. Suffice it to say that Seale and Elman have given us maybe the dumbest protagonist ever.
So aside from enjoying scenes where Seale gets his directorial mechanics right--things work often enough on the "trees" level despite the protagonist's inanity (and heck, some people just are stupid and why can't we show them in films?), and aside from enjoying a creative way to keep the budget way down--at least this isn't another "people running through the woods" film, any enjoyment you get out of Throttle is likely to see just how stupid and ridiculous it can get, and it does tend to keep topping itself in that department. Because of this, it may be worth seeing for fans of "so bad it's good" films, but everyone else should avoid it.
- Jul 24, 2006