Missed this 2004 film when it came out over a decade ago, but when Landers landed on Prime as Dark Passenger, I checked it out because, well, there were cute shirtless guys in the trailer.
That also got me to convince my hubby to watch it, and he actually stuck with me through the whole thing because a) this little indie is bizarrely engrossing, and b) the guys aren’t shirtless until near the end.
I didn’t expect things to begin with an outer space scene. Something is jettisoned to earth and released into the desert. Sure there’s some bad CGI here, but it’s brief and gets the point across. The scene also psyches out the viewer, because you immediately begin anticipating things that don’t exactly transpire.
We learn there is a serial killer going after victims in restroom stalls. Then we meet our two leading men. One is a loser/ex-druggy who reconnects with his successful baseball player buddy. They take a road trip together on a desolate road at night and pick up a strange hitchhiker dude.
While the film is a slow burn, the tight acting really carries it, and you can’t help but watch to see if this creepy hitchhiker dude is going to go all alien on their asses—and how their story is going to tie in with the serial killer subplot that’s always lurking in the background.
This is truly a film you have to pay attention to for it to all make sense at the end. Luckily, I really did pay attention for a change, and together with my hubby, deciphered what we think it all meant when the film came to an abrupt ending. It’s definitely a bit different than your usual horror film and doesn’t spell everything out for you.
There is another intriguing aspect of this film that I may have been reading into simply because I’m ScareBearDan and watch horror from a gay POV (it’s not a choice—I was born that way). There are several instances that had me wondering if it was being subtly implied that the police are contending with a gay serial killer. For starters, at one point the news on the radio reports that the killer is targeting mostly truck drivers in rest stop bathrooms, which immediately made me think of kinky closeted men looking for anonymous sex.
When we first see a victim in a bathroom stall after the police find the body, it’s very easy to be distracted by the gore in the quick glimpse we get. But upon going back to grab screenshots for this blog, I noticed that the body, sitting on a toilet with pants down to its ankles, appears to have hairy legs, but seems to be wearing a frilly female top!
Later, when the three guys take a break at a rest stop, the hitchhiker makes things very uncomfortable by standing between the two leads as they’re at the urinals, with his arms around their shoulders…and then latches their hands together while they’re still pissing.
Minutes after he walks away, we see someone leaving one of the stalls in which there is a dead body once again on the toilet, pants down to ankles. In another oddly intimate moment, the hitchhiker notices the ex-druggy has his nails painted black, asks to borrow the nail polish, and begins painting his own nails as they talk about embracing their own unique identities.
Hey, I could be totally wrong on the gay vibe I was getting, but the gay vibes down below were real when I saw the two leads shirtless. It’s always sexy to see a guy sniffing his sweaty shirt…
And I couldn’t get enough of the cutie with the thick head of hair.
I thought him ridiculously adorable and sexy, especially when he was crawling around on the ground with his jeans hanging off his hips.