Amber Alert: Terror on the Highway is an all around bad movie with poorly written characters not helped by inane dialogue but most of all, it’s just a mess of a plot where the villain’s motivation isn’t entirely clear; it’s also filled with side stories, some character struggles which offer nothing but to bad out the running time.
Amber Alert: Terror on the Highway
Genre(s): Drama, Suspense/Thriller
Nasser Group | NR – 90 min. – $14.99 | July 29, 2014
THE MOVIE – 1.0/5
There was a transition scene that summarized what a piece of crap Amber Alert: Terror on the Highway was: after some inane dialogue we cut to our antagonist throwing up behind a tree. That in a nutshell described this 2008 TV movie (with a reportedly $2M budget) that, for some reason, someone thought needed a home video release…
The story, such as it is, follows recently released convict Larsan (TOM BERENGER) who has no place to stay after his ex won’t allow him to crash at their old house, not to mention won’t allow to see his teenage daughter, though being the caring fellow he is, did get his daughter a birthday gift… which he had stolen from a gas station attendant’s daughter. So he sets off from Washington State to Oregon, having previously stolen a Caddy from a pair of older nagging twins.
Meanwhile, we also are introduced into the lives of our two soon-to-be victims as one, Katie (BRITT MCKILLIP) fights with her mother about going to Italy with her friends while the other, Debra (GENEVIEVE BUECHNER), having a good time with her best friend Sandy (JESSICA PARKER KENNEDY), along with some other characters that honestly don’t matter and don’t offer anything amounting to honest or convincing emotional support to an expanded story that served better in an episode of “Law & Order: SVU”.
In any case, as Larsan rambles across the state, the car gets a flatten tire and while waiting, and drinking, sees Debra and Sandy pull up to a lookout point hoping to come across a couple cute guys. Needing a ride, Larsan pulls a gun on them and when Debra offers to be taken instead of Sandy, he ties one up to a fence and the other in the back of the SUV. However, his plans, which aren’t entirely clear, are spoiled when Katie and her quasi-boyfriend pull up, so Larsan robs them and tapes the guy to the steering wheel and proceeds to kidnap Katie. Again, I have no idea why he did this especially when he says to himself he only wanted a car… so why have two additional passengers?
As the boy manages to call 911, Klamath Falls Police Chief Geiger (TORRI HIGINSON) gets the permission to send out the Amber Alert, after an awkward check list that seems more appropriate as a PSA than a movie. The parents are then informed and of course mass panic, and “raw” emotions are emoted. As laughable as some of these performances were in this sequence, which makes anything on the Lifetime Network look like Academy Award worthy material, it’s only compounded by cheesy direction, in particular a jump-zoom as Geiger utters the words, “Amber Alert” that would put David Caruso’s “CSI: Miami” line readings to shame.
The rest of Amber Alert: Terror on the Highway – which is only around 86-minutes (sans end credits) – is filled with uninspiring performances, thinly written side characters, inane dialogue, a mess of a plot and an antagonist with messy development. Even the normally reliable Tom Berenger can’t help this flick despite some so bad it’s funny moments that you and some friends can go “MST3K” on it.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 0.5/5
The only feature is the trailer (1:54).
VIDEO – 3.5/5
Amber Alert: Terror on the Highway is presented with a 16×9 enhanced 1.78 widescreen transfer and like any low production film doesn’t look the best with drabbed colors, in spite of some of the forest locales, and there are some minor artifacting and banding issues.
AUDIO – 3.75/5
The Dolby Digital Surround track is adequate enough showcasing crisp and clear dialogue levels, the cheesy music/score as well as general ambient noises. Not amazing or noteworthy but a reasonable track all things considered.
OVERALL – 1.0/5
Overall, Amber Alert: Terror on the Highway is an all around bad movie with poorly written characters not helped by inane dialogue but most of all, it’s just a mess of a plot where the villain’s motivation isn’t entirely clear; it’s also filled with side stories, some character struggles which offer nothing but to bad out the running time. For his part Berenger is fine though he can’t do anything to save this trainwreck.