Mark Pavia’s Fender Bender

The next time you get into a mild vehicular dustup be careful how much of your personal information you give to the other party involved, lest you end up like the unfortunate girls in Mark Pavia’s Fender Bender, a vicious little Grindhouse exercise that doesn’t quite achieve genre greatness but is still good fun. When a teenage girl (Mackenzie Vega, Sin City) is rear ended by a weird guy (Bill Sage, American Psycho) in a mysterious black muscle car she exchanges information and heads home to face the disappointment and subsequent grounding alone at home from her parents for taking the car out, she discovers that that’s the least of her worries for the night. It turns out this guy, beyond just having creeper vibes, is a stalker/serial killer who deliberately causes fender benders and uses the insurance contact info to hunt girls down and murder them, and he’s on his way to her place. This leaves her to fight him off initially alone, and then with the help of two ditzy friends. Now, this is a competently made, atmospheric and very suspenseful piece and while I *usually* am not the type of person to be like “why didn’t this character do this” etc in terms of plot, these characters, including our lead, are especially stupid in their attempts to evade and overpower this guy, to the point where the ‘slasher trope’ excuse just doesn’t cut it. That aside it’s a good time and Sage is wonderfully sinister as this dude, credited simply as ‘The Driver.’ The score is done by an electronic group called Nightrunner and adds a lot of dark sonic synth ambience too, which is always great. Aside from how braindead the lead is in frantic situations this is a nice little retro slasher with tense set pieces and a genuinely memorable killer.

-Nate Hill

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