Stuck (2007)

Directed By: Stuart Gordon
Written By: John Strysik
  Stuart Gordon
Starring: Mena Suvari
  Stephen Rea
  Russell Hornsby

Based on a true story. Five words that send shudders down my back when I read them. Rarely have I been impressed with a horror film claiming to be based on a true story, apart from the excellent lie that was the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Films like Wolf Creek just infuriate, but Stuck does an excellent job of sticking close to a story so wild it seems impossible that it could be true.

In October 2001 care-worker Chante Jawan Mallard was driving home from a night out and struck a homeless man, lodging him in her windshield. Chante drove home and left him in her garage to die. Stuck is based closely upon this for the first half then veers into the realms of its own mad fantasy to keeps the thrills and horror going for a feature-length film. This is not a criticism as it’s deftly handled from start to finish.

Initially the film seemed jarring, simply because we begin with a slow wind through an old person’s home, watching the residents sitting around while carers help them die slower, but oddly to the soundtrack of some gangster rap featuring an abundance of swearing and racial slurs. Once this bizarre and incongruous start is out of the way, however, the film really begins. After a night of heavy drinking and drug abuse, Brandi (Mena Suvari) drives into Thomas Bardo (Stephen Rea) and keeps driving, despite his body hanging out of the windshield. Promised with a potential promotion and help from her cheating boyfriend Rashid (Russell Hornsby), Brandi decides to leave Thomas in her car and takes a taxi to work. As Thomas plots to escape his glass trap, Brandi and Rashid attempt damage limitation on an extreme scale.

Mena Suvari is surprisingly adept at playing the drug-loving skank Brandi, who is clearly too stupid and naïve to be able to handle the situation, and Stephen Rea is excellent as the down-on-his-luck victim of a lengthy hit-and-run. You really feel for Thomas Bardo as he struggles to free himself from Brandi’s windshield, a bloody, horrible and painful affair that really grips and horrifies.

Director Stuart Gordon clearly knows what he’s doing, having helmed the darkly comic Re-animator, as Stuck is both humorous and disturbing. Some may find Rashid horribly annoying, but I found him pitch perfect and just as lost at the rest of the characters. His boasts of having “offed” people before are tested to the limits when he realizes exactly what his girlfriend is hiding in her garage.

The only major flaws are how it occasionally taps into stereotype and that the final twenty minutes seem stretched to the limit of how many “almost” escapes one man can make from a garage. Despite this, Stuck is entertaining throughout and immensely watchable. The characters and situation are compelling enough to keep you interested and I truly believe if this wasn’t based on a true story, there would be no way anyone would’ve taken the idea seriously.

Gripping, tense, nasty and funny, Stuck is a solid piece of work and well worth a watch.

Rating: ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆

One Comment on “Stuck”

  1. Sarah Law says:

    I literally just got done watching this so I thought I’d re-read your review. I totally agree with all your points, although you did neglect to mention that Mena Suvari has one of the most annoying screams that I’ve ever heard, and that she screams a lot. Aisde from that, completely spot on ;)

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