Audrey E., here….
Next, we have ‘Highway,’ another foreign entry by English Director Vanessa Gazy. As the vast scene of an open mountain highway reveals itself, there’s a mystery behind this nameless teenage hitchhiker (Odessa Young), who is aimlessly roaming the road and listening to her vintage walkman radio. A poppy tune can be heard playing, but quickly the song fades and a newscast signal takes over as she tries to adjust the station. Losing the battle, the man’s voice continues, and confusion quickly takes over while she gazes up to the clear sky.
The radio has just announced the date is tomorrow, and a major storm has caused several flood warnings in the area. Still in a stunned stupor, she flags down a passing car and climbs inside with a small family. As the curious mother tries to find out more about the girl, she remains quiet until another prophecy broadcasts over the radio, this time tailored to her current situation.
The only flaw with this short feature is the lack of backstory. There’s no real explanation as to why this girl is troubled, how she’s arrived on this highway, or why she’s decided to hitchhike. But what the film does have going for it is an appropriately eerie soundtrack and a strong lead actress. Her traumatized expression and body language as she rides in the car is pure and transparent – even the children sat with her in the backseat have impressive and foreboding looks!
Collectively, they all amp up the fear factor in sync with the ominous storm clouds closing in overhead. ‘Highway‘ is clever and chilly, but doesn’t quite execute a proper story arc. Criticisms aside though, it is still worth a look, even if only to witness the beginnings of a rising young star!