- Story -
Two American couples decide to treat themselves to a road trip/holiday on an RV (large motor caravan) but things take a creepy turn when they accidentally witness a satanic murder ritual while parked in a rural setting. They realise they've been spotted and thus have to drive off quickly with hopes of out running whoever were behind the murder - they make it to the next big town alright but have they really escape from those behind such a heinous crime? what will happen if they catch up with them? will they find out the truth, was it a genuine murder or not? you'll have to watch the movie to find out.
- Thoughts & Opinions -
This is quite a spooky movie, although by todays standards its certainly not very scary in terms of visual shocks. Its a bit similar to The Wicker Man in that there's a constant eeriness in the people that they come across and the feeling that communities are hiding a big secret - also the satanic references, of course.
There are some fairly thrilling car chase scenes but they don't make up the majority of the movie, otherwise its mainly the characters interacting with people they come across on their road trip. Somewhat stereotypically, the women (/wives) end up as the delirious ones, shrieking about most everything, while the men try to save the day.
It is quite sinister in parts, although some scenes may seem a little mundane at first. When shocks do come, they are fairly sudden but their spaced out, so don't expect a constant stream of scares, this movie is more about building an overall feeling of paranoia than anything else.
Towards the end of the movie, the action really hots up with a frantic chase scene that seems rather implausible but it certainly quite thrilling and entertaining to watch. Some camera angles make it particularly engrossing, watching what happens from various cars point of view as well as from further back. There's a heavy reliance on the musical score during the shock scenes (as it were) and chases, which is quite sinister at points.
Personally I felt that the supposed shock twist ending was a bit obvious (although also quite sinister) and so a slight disappointment - it felt that this movie was very much modelled on The Wicker Man (as previously menioned), indeed that came out two years prior to this movie, according to IMDB. It does a good job of making the viewer question alot, its fairly creepy although I wouldn't say its by any means entirely original but then of course it dates from the 1970s and there would have been fewer similar movies then.
The acting overall I'd say is mediocre - I didn't think it was particularly great, it didn't stand out as such, although I felt the movie did become somewhat engrossing in parts, so I suppose thats partly due to a decent enough cast, so I guess its mediocre to average at best. I do think there are good aspects of this movie, it was quite entertaining by the end so I thought it was fairly good but not especially good - this is a movie that I'd give a 3.5 star rating if such a rating were allowed on Ciao - as it isn't, im going with a 3 star rating instead (I hope this makes sense).
One thing I liked about this movie is that its not too long drawn out, lasting barely an hour and a half, making it fairly short but sweet.
- Would I Recommend It? -
Its a movie of its time, one that could be seen as rather laughable by some now, although it does seem a bit sinister in parts. If your looking for a gory horror/thriller then I'd say your better looking elsewhere, this is more of a drama with sinister undertones. This movie isn't without its thrills in part, it does a good job of creating a sinister feeling of doubt and paranoia for the viewer so I wouldn't necessarily totally discount it but I don't know I'd go out of my way to recommend it as such, so I'll leave it up to you whether you think its something you'd like to especially seek out and watch.
Thanks for reading my review, I hope you found it useful. Thanks for all rates and comments as well.
I don't really buy a lot of DVD's unless it is a movie that I particularly want to own or unless they are on a really good special offer.
I remembered watching Race with the Devil when I was a teenager and it scaring the life out of me so when I saw the DVD in HMV for a bargain price I had to buy it and see if it was anywhere near as scary as I remembered it to be.
~~~~~~~~~~ Synopsis ~~~~~~~~~~
Race with the Devil starts off with two middle aged couples taking a holiday together in a RV (caravanet) We find out that it is their first holiday in years and they are going across country to Aspen for skiing.
Deciding to skip staying at a camping ground they pull the RV off the road and find a beautiful secluded location by the river to spend the night. The two couples have dinner and a few drinks and enjoy the peace and quiet of their surroundings. While the two women go to bed the men have a few more drinks outside the RV. Noticing a light across the river they go off to investigate only to witness a group of pagans having some sort of ritual. At first they think it is harmless and watch the group get naked and dance about but it soon takes a more sinister turn and they witness a murder.
After witnessing this murder the men rush back to the RV only to have been discovered by the Devil worshipers who give chase. What happens next is a non-stop rollercoaster race to escape the clutches of the evil satanic sect.
~~~~~~~~~~ My Opinion ~~~~~~~~~~
Well first of all I will start by saying that the film no way lived up to my memories of it. It was nowhere near as scary as I remembered and in fact there were loads of (unintentional) laughs to be had watching it. That isn't to say that I didn't enjoy it but it was definitely lacking in scares and chills.
First of all the acting in this is so bad as to be laughable. The cast is fairly small and other than a few supporting roles the two couples make up most of it. The husbands are played by Peter Fonda and Warren Oates while the wives are played by Loretta Swit and Lara Parker. I was only really familiar with Peter Fonda and Loretta Swit but neither gives a particularly memorable performance here. The two men ham it up something terrible while the two women don't really have a lot to do throughout the movie other than shriek and cook for the husbands. The best performance has to be Loretta Swit who is the least cringeworthy cast member in my opinion. Lara Parker is absolutely terrible and could give Paris Hilton a run for her movie in the bad acting stakes. To be completely honest I did actually get a little distracted with how bad the acting was and it did take me out of the film a little bit but it did also generate some laughs.
Considering the movie is from 1975 the picture quality is surprisingly good. It looks a little grainy at times but for the most part the print is clear and judder free. I was also surprised with how good some of the stunts were in the film considering that there was no CGI to rely on back then. Some of the car crashes wouldn't look out of place in a modern film. The biggest thing was the 1970's setting which is what makes the film look so dated. For instance the RV in the film is supposed to be a top of the range model but looks so dated and old to my eye. The less said about the 1970's fashion the better I think.
The parts of the film that I remembered most clearly from having seen the film years ago were the beginning and the end. They didn't have quite as much impact this time but they were still the most memorable parts of the film for me. The middle part of the film works more as a chase movie and it does this quite successfully but where I enjoyed the film the most was when it was racking up the tension.
The level of paranoia doesn't quite reach the same levels as a film such as Rosemary's baby but it still does a good job of keeping the viewer on their feet to see who is involved and who is a red herring.
I did find the ending to be quite bleak and shocking but it worked well for the movie and I enjoyed it more than I would have some cookie cutter Hollywood ending.
Overall I enjoyed the film immensely. It is fast paced and at only 88 minutes there isn't a lot of time to get bored. I still think the film could have been amazing had it only been a little bit scarier but for only a couple of pounds it was well worth the movie as far as I'm concerned.
~~~~~~~~~~ Recommendation ~~~~~~~~~~
I would definitely recommend this film for lovers of the genre. It might not be a classic of its time but it still stands up well and offers a few genuine chills. It is extremely dated looking but looking past this (and the bad acting) you get a decent horror that is still better than 90% of the rubbish that is produced today.
I picked up the DVD for only £2.99 which is excellent value even if the DVD itself is lacking in features the film itself is well worth this small price.