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'Motorrad' TIFF 2017 Review: A different kind of psychological thrill ride

September 15, 2017Ben MK

It's hard to imagine that a film about a group of off-road bikers who find themselves picked off one by one by a pack of marauding, homicidal maniacs might be anything but a genre exercise in terror. But according to director Vicente Amorim, there's more to Motorrad than meets the eye.

At face value, this tale of violence and carnage on two wheels is as straightforward as horror-thrillers can get, following a young man named Hugo (Guilherme Prates), a mysterious girl named Paula (Carla Salle), Hugo's brother and a handful of their friends as they're relentlessly pursued through abandoned rock quarries by a band of faceless, machete-wielding killers with a penchant for beheading their victims. However, strip away the blood and gore, and you'll find some interesting psychological subtext lurking beneath the movie's snarling veneer.

Slasher horror by way of George Miller, Motorrad makes for a sequel of sorts to Amorim's 2003 film, The Middle of the World, which focused on a family battling poverty by embarking on a cross-country journey on their bicycles. Only this time, the enemy is both more figurative and more literal, and there's more horsepower under the hood.

Motorrad is receiving its world premiere as part of TIFF 2017's Contemporary World Cinema programme. Its runtime is 1 hr. 32 min.

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