Welcome to another edition of Horror With a Side of Cheese! If this is your first time here, welcome, and allow me to explain. Twice every month, on the first and third Friday, I talk about the cheesiest horror movies I can find. Instead of stars, I rate these films between one and five cheese slices. To determine the rating, I look at several factors such as story, dialogue, acting, effects and re-watchability. This week, I bring you Rubber, the story of a sentient, murderous tire. I am giving it a solid four slices of cheese. Stick around to find out why.
To say Rubber is unlike anything else is a vast understatement. The premise is incredibly meta. A performance is underway for a group of spectators watching atop a cliff. However, as long as there are spectators, most people do not seem to know it is a performance. Instead, they firmly believe the events are “real life.”
As the observers gaze out over a desert full of debris, a lone tire suddenly comes to life. As the rimless tire rolls through the wasteland, it discovers a love of crushing things; however, it comes upon a bottle it cannot squish. With this discovery comes another — the ability to destroy items through psychokinetic powers. With this new talent, the tire begins to explode animals it finds. Eventually, it arrives at a small town and moves up to human victims.
Rubber stars an average tire, Stephen Spinella, Jack Plotnick, Roxane Mesquida and Wings Hauser. Quentin Dupieux wrote and directed the film.
This 2010 film has a 68 percent Tomatometer Score on Rotten Tomatoes and a 46 percent Audience Score. Its run time is one hour and 22 minutes.
Why does a movie like Rubber exist? No reason. In the opening sequence, lieutenant Chad pops out of the trunk of a car and breaks the fourth wall, addressing the audience directly. During his speech, he mentions how many things in movies and life seem to have no reason. Over and over, Chad states that many things have no reason behind them. This statement sets a precedent for the rest of the film.
Firstly, I want to talk about the story. The overall plot is an ongoing performance for a group of spectators. That performance involves a tire that gains sentience and love for killing. Beyond these things, there isn’t a plot. The entire film is filled with scenes of a discarded tire learning to kill, first by rolling over items and then using psychokinesis to explode people’s heads.
There is one scene in particular that I found memorable. Shortly after gaining life, the tire finds a plastic water bottle. It bumps the bottle as if testing it and finally decides to roll over the thing impeding its pathway. There was a time I thought a tire couldn’t show emotion, but after watching Rubber, I no longer feel that way. When Robert goes over the bottle, there is a definitive air of happiness and excitement.
Next up, dialogue. Again, there is not much to go on here as the vast majority of what you see is the tire itself, which does not speak. Most of the dialogue comes from the occasional bickering amongst the spectators and the lieutenant either playing along or trying to convince everyone the murders are fake.
The next thing to consider is the surprisingly decent effects. A large portion of the FX is practical rather than CGI. The most significant effect is the explosions. One scene with a crow has a terrible transition, but otherwise, they are gruesome enough for gore lovers. Outside of the exploding victims, the only effect is the tire that rolls by itself.
The cinematography is intriguing. The better part of what the audience sees is from the tire’s point of view. Even when it is not the tire’s POV, it is still heavily focused on the tire.
Finally, re-watchability. The cheese is strong with this one, young Padawan. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Rubber; however, I do not anticipate watching it again. The whole spectator shtick detracted from the overall experience, so I did not give it five cheese slices. The end is worth sitting through the rest of the film.
I hope you enjoyed this edition of Horror With a Side of Cheese! Join me again on the third Friday of this month and every edition after. If you love learning about underrated horror movies, I talk about those every second and fourth Friday.
Before you go, check out the trailer for Rubber below. If you know an incredibly cheesy horror flick you would like to see featured, leave the title in the comments. Until next time, stay spooky and cheesy!
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