Director: Chris Thomson | 95 minutes | drama, horror, thriller, science fiction | Actors: Timothy Busfield, Brenda Bakke, Aidan Devine, Roman Podhora, Jay Brazeau, Brendan Fletcher, Amy Stewart, Victor Cowie, Sharon Bajer, Jonathan Barrett, Rick Skene, Don Granberry, Barbara Lee Edwards, Gene Pyrz, Kirk Harper
Many of Stephen King’s nail-biting stories have been filmed for many years. There are a number of very good screen adaptations (‘The Shining’, ‘The Shawshank Redemption’, ‘Misery’), but most of it does not exceed the level of the average B horror film. The story Trucks is a short story and was already filmed in 1986 with the title ‘Maximum Overdrive’ starring eighties star Emilio Estevez and directed by Stephen King himself. That film was not really a masterpiece, so this story was made into a film again in 1997 especially for television. The original title of the story has been retained. The story is typical of Stephen King: the struggle of the humble man against an almighty dark evil.
The whole thing doesn’t even take place in Maine, Stephen King’s home state, for a change, but in a desert hamlet in Nevada. Near this hamlet is the infamous Area 51. This area really exists and there is a secret American airbase. This base has often been cited by UFO followers in the past as a location where the US government would hide intelligent alien beings. An ideal place for evil spirits. In this hamlet we meet a number of people who are all there for a specific reason, be it as a tourist, whether in transit or simply at work. As befits a good standard film, this is a mixed group consisting of an old hippie, two teenagers, a couple from the city, a beautiful woman, some local farmers and a hero.
‘Maximum Overdrive’ wasn’t the best film, but this ‘Trucks’ is really bad. The big question is why director Chris Thomson dared to make such a bad remake. If you make a remake of a bad movie, there is really only credit to be gained, you would think: not so, it could be worse. The acting is terribly bad, the action scenes are not to be seen and at no time is it exciting or fearful and at no time do you empathize with the group of people. The trucks are also not really terrifying and that is a shame because that something like this can work very scary, Steven Spielberg has proven with ‘Duel’ or just think of the opening scene of ‘Jeepers Creepers’. None of that, ‘Trucks’ comes across as pretty stupid, with the low point being the scene in which a radio-controlled truck attacks the postman. This is Stephen King’s ‘Close Encounter of the Machine Kind’ screams the cover of ‘Trucks’, an absurd comparison of course. Well, the story may not be that dynamic for a really good film version, but ‘Trucks’ is surely a low point in Stephen King film adaptations. The master would be ashamed.