The new film “The Passenger,” directed by Carter Smith (known for “The Ruins” and “Swallowed”), begins with a harrowing nightmare as a woman crawls towards a young boy with blood spurting from her eye socket. Randy (Johnny Berchtold) wakes up from the disturbing dream to face another mundane day at Burgers, Burgers, Burgers. Little does he know that this day will take an unimaginable turn.
As the diner prepares to open, Randy faces harassment from a fellow employee, a common occurrence. Witnessing this, Benson (Kyle Gallner) looks on disapprovingly before stepping out for a smoke. In a shocking twist, Benson returns with a shotgun and ruthlessly kills everyone except Randy, whom he takes hostage.
The film then transforms into a road movie, but not the expected road trip horror. Instead, it delves into the traumas of both characters and their shared pasts. As Benson tries to “fix” Randy, he forces him to confront his issues and grow a backbone. Despite his monstrous actions, Benson’s character becomes more complex, going beyond the standard Hollywood psycho.
“The Passenger” skillfully blends crime thriller and horror elements with a dark drama about two broken individuals who have suppressed their emotions in opposite ways. With exceptional performances from the entire cast, Johnny Berchtold and Kyle Gallner stand out as the leads, showcasing their talent in this intense journey.
The film is emotionally challenging, delivering powerful punches amid the violence. As the suspense builds towards an inevitable climax, viewers will find it hard to turn away from this gripping and brutal experience.