June 4, 2010
Phantom Racer (2009)
Now I know that I'm going to drop myself right in it with the other horror aficionados out there but I actually enjoyed this SyFy TV movie.
Yes, I do realise that it's just a really low-budget mix of "The Car", "Christine" and "The Wraith" but none of those movies had Greg Evigan or Nicole Eggert in them as far as I know. It's pretty much their performances that carry this silliness and make it one of the most entertaining things that I've seen for weeks.
For those of us of a certain generation, the in-joke of Greg Evigan playing a truck driver again with only one letter changed in the name of his character, not B.J. but J.J., might make some people think that you shouldn't take any of this too seriously. The way his onscreen daughter chides him with, "You killed my two dads!" confirms it. The teenagers that this movie is really designed for wouldn't even notice though because everybody plays their parts as straight as the script allows them to. I'll have to watch it again to see if there were any less obvious Baywatch jokes for Nicole Eggert.
Obviously every horror fan will compare "Phantom Racer" unfavourably with the other possessed car movies and I'd be foolish not to join them. It really isn't in the same class at all but some of the gore certainly is. Not to spoil it for you too much but there really are some quite visceral kills which, although over far too quickly, really crank this up a few notches from the usual kiddie-safe SyFy fodder. I particularly enjoyed the windscreen wiper scene but, in all fairness, it was really far fetched. Yes, as far fetched as an evil ghostly driver coming back for revenge in his old racing car, I suppose.
Anyway, I'm not going to get into all the bad parts such as the uber clichéd car chases or anything like that because this is a pretty fast paced movie and there's nothing in it which will bore anybody for too long. A couple of the performances were a little bit weak but you'll hardly notice them. If it had had a bigger budget then it could have been a lot gorier for my tastes but it would still have been the same ridiculous story so it doesn't really matter.
"Phantom Racer" is just an amusing time-filler for a wet afternoon or an early morning when there's nothing else to watch. I would even go so far as recommending it for purchase as well if you really like the subgenre. For others, I think this is only worth a rental unless you manage to catch it on TV for free.