NEXT EXIT (2012)
Directed by Ben Goodger
Screened at Grimmfest 2013
When a woman catches a lift with a friendly stranger at a wedding reception, her optimism soon turns to doubt as she’s led further into the wilderness.
NEXT EXIT provides the viewer with a situation we’ve seen hundreds of times before, and something we’ve been warned by our parents, family and friends never to do – get in a car with a stranger. Whilst the inevitable discovery plays out, you can feel yourself screaming at the screen at the woman for being so silly as to have accepted the stranger’s offer. After the man fails to convince that he was with the groom’s party, and with a strange smell emitting from the backseat, laden with bin bags, the woman begins to panic. Following the sat nav and driving into the middle of nowhere, she is convinced that this is the end, and she’s not wrong… at least, not in the way she thinks.
Ben Goodger has taken a familiar scenario and totally turned it on its head for a shocking and claustrophobic ending that will deliver a spine-tingling shiver to all who witness. I daren’t say any more, as I’d ruin it for the viewer, but I liken it to a live action version of Charlie the Unicorn, albeit not including unicorns, a leopluradon or candy mountain. The reality in Next Exit is much scarier than you could ever imagine.
George Russo and Cloudia Swann star as the two strangers, and the sympathy lies at Cloudia’s door as Jenny who’s been naive enough to catch a ride with the mysterious Peter. However, Jenny’s not stupid to realise what’s happening and appears to be a strong character, though can this be enough to tackle what she’s about to uncover?
The woodland location whilst trapped inside a car is a great setting for a horror short such as this, and whilst the viewer is given the impression its one thing, the filmmakers then pull the rug from underneath to reveal something much more sinister.
Beautifully shot with a gripping, tense tale, NEXT EXIT will make you think twice about using a TomTom in future!