Pick Me Up (2006)

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Overall Rating 60%
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Ranked #6,431
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In the middle of nowhere, with only a two-lane highway to connect it to anywhere, a recently divorced female traveler, who is a passenger on a bus that has broken down, gets caught in a bizarre and violent turf war between serial killers. --IMDb
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Review by Chad
Added: July 31, 2007
In the latest Masters of Horror entry (well, the latest to hit this site), we find Larry Cohen returning to his horror roots with a tale of serial killers, hitchhikers, and the pretty young ladies who unwittingly stumble into their turfs. Wait, Larry Cohen - master of horror? I'll give him "master of the b-movie" without blinking an eye, but master of horror? The same guy who brought us Q, It's Alive, and Black Caesar? Ahh well... I have to give the man his due for bringing us some entertaining films over the years, but that "master of horror" label just bugs me a little.

Anyway, onwards to the subject at hand. The storyline for Pick Me Up is frighteningly simple, and it revolves around a bus full of people who get stranded in the middle of nowhere. One of them - Stacia (Fairuza Balk) - decides to hitchhike to a nearby hotel, but the rest of the gang decides to stick around and wait for help to arrive. "Help" eventually arrives in the form of Walker (Warren Kole), a hitchhiker who also enjoys murdering people for sport. This little fact doesn't sit too well with Jim Wheeler (Michael Moriarty), another serial killer in the area who specializes in murdering hitchhikers who try to get a ride in his huge eighteen-wheeler. A turf war is in the near future for these two sadistic men, and Stacia eventually finds herself in the middle of it.

Pick Me Up had a lot of potential: I mean, what could be more interesting than watching two serial killers go at it with one another over who gets to off this young woman? Sadly, I felt that this potential wasn't fully realized, but I hastily add that I don't think that this was actually a bad movie. Instead, I was left wanting more when the ending rolled around, and I don't mean that in the sense of "Please, make a sequel!" - no, I was left wanting more as in "Wait, shouldn't there be another ten minutes to this movie? Maybe a better ending than that?"

I can't get into the how's and the why's that would back up that claim without venturing much too far into spoiler territory, so you're just going to have to take my word when I say that the ending is fairly anti-climatic to say the least. It's not an entirely bad ending, mind you, but it simply feels like the setup for something bigger... and that something never arrived. Perhaps this can be attributed to the fact that the premise for this film simply wouldn't allow anything less; speaking in a rhetorical sense (and not a "this is what happens" sense), it'd be so stereotypical if the victim outwitted the serial killers and lived happily ever after, but then again, it would be pretty pointless if it all culminated in one of the serial killers adding another notch to their belt after murdering her. I understand the reasoning here, but that didn't erase my disappointment either.

Again, don't get me wrong: I did enjoy Pick Me Up and felt that it had a lot to offer, ending notwithstanding. The acting is superb all around (save for some minor characters who really don't matter in the grand scheme of things), the storyline sucks you in right from the opening scenes, and those of you with a torture and gore fetish will particularly enjoy one of the scenes found within the running time. All things considered, I think that those traits make this a great film, but the lackluster ending brings that "great" status down to "slightly above average" in the end.

Overall, one could do much worse when it comes to picking through the first season of Masters of Horror, but one could do better as well. 6/10.
Ginose #1: Ginose - added July 31, 2007 at 4:36am
I found this to be the most fun I've gotten out of the series, thus far. Now, I don't like Cohen's movies... with the exception of "Q", but that wasn't because of its cinematic grace, I had my own agenda for enjoying it... and I can safely say that this one was about as well directed as his other works... but it's fun as hell. It was an excellent idea that transfered lovingly to the screen. Funny when it needs to be, creepy when it needs to be... the ending was a serious cop-out but the ovelying film was just a joy to watch. Silly, maybe, but I grew up on urban legends and these were two of my favorites... a thought like this never crossed my mind though. 8/10 for some late-night fun.
FUN FACT: This was the first episode that I actually caught when it aired. All others were seen on DVD or Showtime ON DEMAND... good to have friends with cable.
Cryptorchild #2: Cryptorchild - added August 2, 2007 at 7:45pm
You know, this is one of my favorites from the 1st season of MOH. I like the idea, the acting, everything. I loved the interaction between the two killers at the motel. I thought it was a really fun idea. The ending was a bit far-fetched but it went along with the way the film developed so it's ok. All in all, I really enjoyed this entry.
Tristan #3: Tristan - added November 13, 2007 at 2:54pm
I thought this was a great episode. It was suspenseful, lots of twists, and you had no idea how it was going to end. There were a few cheesy moments, but other than that, I think it was flawless. I'd have to say it's among my favourites of the season. 8/10
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