Reviewer's Rating 1 out of 5   User Rating 3 out of 5
Octane (2003)
15Contains strong violence, language and drug use

Clocking up miles without ever actually going anywhere, Octane is an endless U-turn of a road movie/horror film that's as insulting as it is moronic, and as tedious as it is retarded.


Following up his lacklustre debut Long Time Dead, director Marcus Adams continues to squander what little smattering of talent he has by taking on dreadful scripts (this one by Stephen Volk, of The Guardian infamy) and trying to shape them into halfway decent films.

To ensure success on both sides of the pond, Octane plays like an American studio picture, focusing on the teenage market with its story of a stressed out mother Senga (Madeleine Stowe) driving her daughter Nat (Mischa Barton) along a deserted stretch of freeway late at night. Strange happenings are afoot, though. After an encounter with a teenage hitchhiker (Bijou Phillips), Nat is snatched by a bizarre cult obsessed with blood rituals.


At which point the movie slips out of first gear and into reverse, blowing its gearbox and causing a monumental movie pile-up in the process, as the plot disintegrates into complete incomprehensibility. We're left with the burning wreckage of a vaguely enticing premise as Volk throws vampires, Satanists, and psychotherapy into the mix in a join-the-dots script that he obviously didn't get round to finishing before shooting commenced.

While Adams has lost none of his arty pretensions - close-ups of cigarettes burning and inserted snippets of video game footage conspire to give this some visual depth - the script's complete disregard for narrative logic is nothing short of an insult.

"We are bombarded with answers, but are we asking the right questions?" rasps a TV advert at one point. By the end of Octane, there's only one question that matters: just how stupid do they think we are?

End Credits

Director: Marcus Adams

Writer: Stephen Volk

Stars: Madeleine Stowe, Norman Reedus, Bijou Phillips, Mischa Barton, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers

Genre: Drama, Thriller

Length: 90 minutes

Cinema: 14 November 2003

Country: UK/Luxembourg

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