A savage performance by Reese Witherspoon highlights this darkly comic updating of Little Red Riding Hood. After seeing her prostitute mother and abusive stepfather put in jail, Witherspoon, complete with a basket, hits the road for Grandmother's house, only to encounter a silver-tongued serial killer (Kiefer Sutherland). The acting, Brooke Shields aside, is universally good, including a surprising comeback performance by Sutherland. And though it occasionally feels awkward, especially in its too-neat, ridiculously truncated conclusion, Freeway is full of nice touches—such as making the villain a psychologist—that play off the expectations of a familiar story. While also working as a conventional thriller, its many twists on the fairy tale make it work on an almost subliminal level.

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