We spoke with the writer and director of the new road thriller Wrecker, starring Anna Hutchison and Drea Whitburn. The film is now playing in select theaters and available on VOD and iTunes. Check out the official synopsis and interview below.
Best friends Emily and Lesley go on a road trip to the desert. When Emily decides to get off the highway and take a “short cut,” they become the target of a relentless and psychotic trucker who forces them to play a deadly game of cat and mouse.
How did you come up with the idea for Wrecker?
Micheal Bafaro: I grew up in a small town and I was always going on road trips since I got my driver’s license. I was working on a movie a few years back and I was on a survey. I was in the middle of nowhere and I happened to pull in to a gas station where these two girls were arguing about maybe taking a wrong turn and one of the girls was complaining about her boyfriend as well. I got back in my car and I started thing about movies like Duel and The Vanishing. I started coming up with some ideas and I went to Evan Tyler who works at Industry Works Pictures, and I pitched the idea to him and we started hatching things out.
Were you inspired by any other road thrillers?
MB: Definitely Duel had a lot of influence. The Vanishing also had some influence in the movie as to what happens, so anyone who knows The Vanishing knows what happens. Duel had a big influence only because it’s hard to top something like that, to put those types of scenes in your movie. Basically the road trip is a metaphor for a man and a woman meeting and a bad relationship. The woman is the red car and the man is the tow truck.
You’re out on the road and when you encounter a tow truck, that would mean the safety and security if something happens to you. The relationship part is you meet someone and at first they seem fine, but then they show signs of being a little bit weird. You brush those off and then before you know it, once it gets too deep people are always avoiding the truth. In a bad relationship it becomes toxic and then potentially life threatening.
Were most of the film’s road scenes shot in Canada?
MB: The movie is set in California. She’s supposed to be going to a music festival and they leave Washington and she lies to her boyfriend. Where we shot the movie was an area in British Columbia called the Okanagan. It’s a very desert area and it looks similar to California. They gave us these three stretches of road that our highway’s ministry would allow us to use. We had to have road crews, getting permission from the government highways department and we were allowed to shut the highway down for long periods of time.
Did you ever have an experience on the road that influenced the film?
MB: I was fortunate enough not to have anything weird happen to me like that. There’s this one highway up in the north part of Canada called the Highway of Tears where a lot of women are disappearing. You’re mind just starts too wander and my imagination goes. Doing a lot of travelling, I take all these little roads and you come across things like, “What would you do on this bridge?” or “What could happen through this tunnel?” You just basically start thinking about all these locations and then start building around them.