dir. Fernando González Gómez & Raúl Cerezo
Four strangers ride-share a van towards a country village when, on a dark and misty road, the driver hits a severely injured woman. However they soon realise that everything is not as it seems, and they must put aside their grievances to fight for their lives against a preternatural predator.
Taking obvious inspiration from John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982), Fernando González Gómez & Raúl Cerezo’s The Passenger is a twisted road trip that delves into slasher territory as the occupants of the van are hunted by a brutal killer who has the ability to take over the human body. The result utilises stalk-n-slice tropes, as well as the paranoia created by a body-snatching parasite, to form an uneasy atmosphere.
Punctuating the tension is an unlikely central friendship between straight-talking driver Blasco (Ramiro Blas) and Marta (Paula Gallego), a teenager who’s feeling of abandonment is only magnified by her uptight mother. The developing rapport between the two adds an endearing and instantly likeable aspect, evoking genuine concern about their fate.
Slimy, squelchy and with an extra helping of ick, the body horror effects are reminiscent of ’80s style viscera with a Rob Bottin-style flare for extra-terrestrial dramatics. As such although The Passenger is nothing groundbreaking it remains an enjoyable ode to the different facets of 80s horror, devoid of pretension and abounding in gory glee.
© Ygraine Hackett-Cantabrana