‘Tailgate’ Review: Vengeance for Road Rage

If you’ve ever been the victim of another driver’s road rage, you can sympathize with the killer chasing “tailgate,” a Dutch thriller from writer-director Lodwijk Krijens. The Exterminator, played by Willem de Wolf, is a neat, very tall man who kicks things off by killing a cyclist. As the biker pleads for his life, apologizing, the menacing figure puts an extermination spray gun in the biker’s mouth and pulls the trigger, stabbing him to death.

Not getting the sympathy angle yet? Enter Hans (Jeroen Spitzenberger), a hideous man taking his family on a weekend trip to his parents’ house. Hans pounces on his wife, gleefully teaches his daughters that women are terrible drivers and – most importantly – rides The Exterminator’s bumper to a long stretch of highway. When Hans is confronted and demands an apology, he becomes even more rigid, despite his wife’s misgivings. In response, The Exterminator works systematically to track down and eliminate Hans.

The killer is pretty terrifying in his own right, but it can be hard not to root for him. It is a hunter-stalker-hunting tale, and the swan has the charisma of a cockroach. As The Exterminator’s van rolls down the road, it invokes a tantalizing suspense similar to watching a plume rise above the water during “Jaws.” But here, the potential victim is a total cretin, not a skinny-dipper or a fearful fisherman. This well-choreographed hunt is cool, sure—especially because of Dee Wolf’s awesome performance and unconventional choice of weapon—but it’s also a little fun.

not evaluated. In English and Dutch with subtitles. Running time: 1 hour 26 minutes. In theaters and available to rent or buy Apple TVhandjob Google play and other streaming platforms and pay TV operators.

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