RV Fonda Style
Friends and business partners Roger Marsh (Peter Fonda) and Frank Stewart (Warren Oates) along with their respective wives Kelly (Lara Parker) and Alice (Loretta Swit) are taking some time off from running their motorbike business and are heading up to Aspen, Colorado in an RV. Having stopped for the night next to a river they not only find themselves coming across a satanic ritual killing but also having to flee for their lives when they are spotted. With the police disbelieving when the friends try to report it the couples head on and hope to put it behind them but find themselves being hunted down by these Satanists.
Anyone who knows their movies will know that Peter Fonda is the king of the b-movie or at least if you see Fonda's name on something from the 70s you can be pretty sure it is a b-movie. But b-movies can be entertaining and "Race with the Devil" is certainly entertaining with this simple storyline of two couples being chased in their RV by a group of Satanists. Yes the storyline isn't that original as you could switch the Satanists for say a crazed trucker or cops and you would have the storyline to another movie but in a way it is in its familiarity it works.
That may sound daft but once the set up to "Race with the Devil" is in place you stop wondering how it will play out as you know that after some trouble on the roads they will either get away or more ominously they won't and the movie will leave you hanging as to their fate. It means you can switch your attention to the detail, the shock of the satanic ritual which we witness to the friendships between the friends. And thankfully director Jack Starrett manages to fill all of this with tension so that you have real moments of drama and excitement such as the initial scene where in the middle of night they try to flee from the pursuing Satanists with the RV ending up stuck in the river.
The thing is that there isn't much more than that to "Race with the Devil" yet is still entertaining. In fact when you think about it you begin to wonder how something so relatively ordinary in concept can be so entertaining and it is down to the nice acting from all involved especially Peter Fonda who at times feels like he is just being himself and director Jack Starrett's delivery of drama and tension.
What this all boils down to is that "Race with the Devil" is in truth a play on a familiar storyline, the road trip movie with the deadly pursuit. But whilst familiar it works with nothing about it really standing out except moments of drama which are actually tense which is what sucks you into it more than the outcome of what happens.