Tailgate is a 2019 Dutch horror thriller about an arrogant family man who finds himself pursued and terrorised by a vengeful van driver.
Written and directed by Lodewijk Crijns, the movie stars Jeroen Spitzenberger, Anniek Pheifer, Roosmarijn van der Hoek and Liz Vergeer.
When travelling with his family, Hans, an overly-confident man, causes a road rage incident with another driver: Ed – who, in revenge, starts to follow the family and confronts Hans with his ego. As Hans starts to lose control of his family, Ed pushes him until nothing but the fearful, vulnerable child he once was is left…
“Ultimately, Tailgate works because the notion that toxic masculinity is the true villain of our times. Both the protagonist and antagonist are not prepared to back down from the stand they’ve decided to take […] Both are dumb hills to die on (literally) but it does make for very entertaining thrill ride around the highways and bi-ways of Holland.” BritFlicks
“Sometimes if you can’t connect with the main character and you don’t have someone that you feel you can root for, it can take you out of the narrative because you don’t feel invested. But if you can make it past that hurdle, Tailgate is a tense thriller that will see you double-checking your rearview mirror every time you get in the car.” Daily Dead
“Tailgate might not have the most original premise but it’s a hell of a thrill-ride. It’s tense, gripping and hugely enjoyable. The film does what you want it to and nothing more, and for 82 minutes you won’t be able to take your eyes off the screen.” Entertainment Focus
“Everyday aggression is shot in bright sunshine, whilst the van driver’s weapon of choice is simple but horrific, worthy of any movie serial killer […] Crijns handles the action set pieces well, creating a real sense of danger and dynamism despite the smallness of the setting, but it’s in the film’s chillier moments that he really comes into his own.” Eye for Film
“Even with a seasoned history of similar thrillers behind it, Crijns’ film stands out as a remarkable watch; a punchy, fierce, unstoppable few hours of incredibly tightly-wound family drama, thrown through a positively dread-inducing kaleidoscope of vehicular mayhem. It really is a force of nature and one that’ll leave you checking your rear-view mirror for weeks.” HeyUGuys
“Spitzenberger is good in the role, but as a viewpoint character he’s hard to take – arguably, he deserves what he gets, especially for dragging his family into the firing line, so it’s more excruciating than suspenseful to see him being persecuted and we never have that connection we get with Dennis Weaver in Duel or C. Thomas Howell in The Hitcher that makes us hope the hero will get out of his bind through ingenuity or sudden discovery of guts.” The Kim Newman Web Site
“Although there is no motivation, no character analysis, the rather amusingly named Bumperkleef is a true thriller, filled with short, sharp shocks and an original antagonist. You don’t need to concentrate yet, conversely, you find the time flies past (unlike certain recent films). If you don’t take it too seriously, this is an entertaining way to spend an hour and 20 minutes.” Movie Ramblings
“Written and directed by Lodewijk Crijns, it builds up pace quickly and remains relentless throughout, with just a brief breather about halfway through. It’s impressively made and well-acted throughout. I’m afraid I didn’t enjoy Tailgate at all, though. It was tense, sure, and peopled with real-life characters; but it was not exciting or intriguing, and I didn’t find myself caring for any of the characters…” Ready Steady Cut!
“Director Lodewijk Crijns is uniquely competent at staging set pieces in everyday traffic: You don’t need a high-speed chase to hook the audience. Missing an exit is more than enough. Midway through the film, however, Tailgate loses direction: The characters’ actions stop making sense and there’s a lot of filler.” Starburst
“At 80 minutes, this is lean, taut filmmaking. Gnarly set-pieces humiliate the characters while the sun shines bright in the sky. Ed’s advanced age, imposing size and method of dispatching enemies are never explained, but the mystery makes the film all the more tantalising. Coming mere months after the Russell Crowe vehicle Unhinged, Tailgate will appeal to more sophisticated petrol-heads who prefer the European style.” The Up Coming
“As the film’s vicious road games veer into home invasion territory, Crijns never eases his foot off the tension, even as he creates, in the person of the dull, pedantic, meticulous stranger, a rather comically improbable brand of unstoppable killing machine. The result is a satirical psycho-thriller that repeatedly crosses the median strip between cat-and-rat kicks and crime-and-punishment judgement calls.” VODzilla
“The plot is a bit simple and unoriginal but the execution is quite decent with enough thrilling and funny moments. The main character and his family are annoying, the bad guy is a creepy stalker and kinda cool with his suit. First half in the car was slightly better than the second half, but overall still an entertaining watch.” Warp
Tailgate premiered at the Nederlands Film Festival on 30th September 2019 and has been released online in various countries since.
In the US, Film Movement will release Tailgate theatrically, On-Demand and on Digital on July 30th 2021.
Cast and characters:
Jeroen Spitzenberger … Hans
Anniek Pheifer … Diana
Roosmarijn van der Hoek … Milou
Liz Vergeer … Robine
Willem de Wolf … Ed
Truus te Selle … Trudy
Hubert Fermin … Joop
Tim Linde … Jos
Peter Blankenstein … Wouter
Stacey Matla … Child playing
Not to be confused with the 2015 film of the same name which stars Sam Young and Peter Marshall.