Traffik (2018 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Deon Taylor|
|Written by||Deon Taylor|
|Music by||Geoff Zanelli|
|Edited by||Melissa Kent|
|Box office||$9.5 million|
Traffik is a 2018 American thriller film directed and written by Deon Taylor and starring Paula Patton, Omar Epps, Laz Alonso, Roselyn Sanchez, Luke Goss, William Fichtner, and Missi Pyle. It follows a group of friends who are terrorized by a gang of bikers in a remote countryside home. It was released on April 20, 2018, by Summit Entertainment, received generally unfavorable reviews from critics and grossed $9 million worldwide.
The film opens with a young woman dancing in a nightclub. She is approached by a man and agrees to leave with him. She is later abducted and stowed away in a trailer.
Brea (Paula Patton) is a journalist for the Sacramento Post. She is upset to find that a rival journalist is covering a major scandal story that she had been trying to get published. Brea confronts her boss, Carl (William Fichtner), who says her story is just a fluff piece.
Brea goes out for a birthday dinner with her boyfriend John (Omar Epps) and their friends Darren (Laz Alonso) and Malia (Roselyn Sanchez). Darren ruins a whole surprise that John had planned for Brea in which he was set to take her on a romantic getaway in the California mountains. The ladies then go to the bathroom where Brea thinks that John might propose, but she says she is just not ready for that.
John surprises Brea with a car he built in his shop as they head off on their vacation. They stop at a gas station where Brea enters the bathroom and meets a scared-looking woman named Cara (Dawn Olivieri). She tells Brea "Sure feels a lot like the Fourth of July" before a brutish biker guy comes in ordering Cara to hurry up. Outside the station, another biker is bugging John about his car and asks racist questions like if he's a ball player or if he worked in the prison auto shop. John tells the guy he doesn't want trouble, leading the biker to spit on his car, and John responds by punching him in the face. The biker pulls out a knife as his buddies surround John, but Sheriff Marnes (Missi Pyle) intervenes and keeps the bikers away. John and Brea leave the station.
On the road, one of the bikers starts to follow John and Brea. John speeds up and stops to cause the biker to swerve off the road and roll down a hill. Back at the station, the bikers' leader, Red (Luke Goss), chastises his goons for drawing attention to themselves and failing to get their hands on Brea.
The couple arrive at their vacation house and spend the afternoon together in the pool. Their evening is disrupted when Darren and Malia make an unannounced visit, despite Darren making Malia believe that John was cool with it (he's clearly not). The couples hang out until Darren gets a phone call letting him know that an athlete he represents just got jailed. He does coke because he's mad that male athletes keep disappointing him by getting locked up. He then swears to only start representing female athletes such as Venus and Serena Williams because "when was the last time they got in any trouble". They then hear a ringing sound coming from Brea's bag. She finds a satellite phone in her bag and she realizes that Cara slipped it into her bag. Thinking about her Fourth of July comment, Brea figures that it's a pass-code. It works and they unlock the phone. They find hundreds of pictures of battered women posing for ads, making the couples realize that this is part of a trafficking ring. Brea decides to call the police, but Darren stops her by bringing up the fact that John and Malia hooked up long before they knew either Brea or Darren. Malia is upset at Darren's behavior and she leaves him for good.
Moments later, there is a knock at the door. Brea answers to find Cara there asking for her phone back. Brea offers to help, even as Cara angrily demands the phone back. She runs away as John, Brea, and Darren attempt to follow, only to see Red and the bikers turn on their headlights. Cara runs to Red and says she didn't get the phone back, and he shoots her in the head. The three run back into the house where Darren demands that they give up the phone. He even takes out a gun to make Brea give it to him. He goes outside to hand the phone back, until he sees Malia's bag and realizes the bikers have her. He tries to make a deal with Red to give the phone back in exchange for Malia, but Red knows that the phone has been opened and they have been compromised. Darren tries to pull the gun on them, but the bikers stab him repeatedly before Red shoots him in the head.
John and Brea escape the house through the garage as they are pursued by the bikers. The couple runs into the woods where the racist biker from earlier tries to corner them. He attacks John with a knife, but Brea whacks him with a large branch before John gets the knife and stabs him, and Brea finishes him with a whack to the face.
The couple run to a cabin where an old man lives. He lets them inside to use the phone, and Brea asks to use the computer so that she can send a message to Carl, along with the pictures of the trafficked women. Unfortunately, another biker arrives and shoots the old man to death before attacking the couple. The computer is destroyed before Brea's message can go through. The biker fights John and shoots him in the side before Brea stabs him in the back. John manages to take the gun from the biker and shoot him in the head, but his wound is fatal. He tells Brea he got the old man's car keys and reaffirms his love for her before dying. Brea then finds an engagement ring that John was planning to propose with, and she wears it for him.
Brea goes outside to try to start the car, but Red and the last biker find her. Before they can take her, Marnes arrives with a deputy after John called them. However, Marnes turns out to be part of the trafficking scheme, which she proves by shooting and killing the deputy. She berates Red and the biker for manhandling the girls since they are products, as well as not deleting the evidence on the phone. They sedate Brea and take her away.
Brea wakes up in a hidden location with the other trafficked women, including Malia. Brea confirms to her that John and Darren are dead. Red and his goon enter. He tells Brea he is keeping her all to himself. Brea responds by sticking a nail in his neck before she starts bludgeoning him to death. The biker attacks Brea, but Malia overdoses him with his sedative. Brea promises she will come back for Malia before going to get help.
Brea walks out of the woods and finds herself near the gas station from before. She walks there in view of the other patrons who see how badly beaten she looks. She enters the store and asks the clerk to call the police. Brea swipes a phone from the counter and calls Carl for help.
After dark, Marnes arrives for Brea. She orders her outside to arrest her. Brea asks Marnes if she takes any pride in trafficking women for profit. Marnes responds that everything is trafficked, and she is just part of the system. Marnes cuffs Brea and takes her outside, only for a whole squad of cops to show up. Marnes is arrested, and the cops rescue the trafficked women.
In the final scene back in Sacramento, Brea returns to work where Carl tells her that the trafficking ring bust will be big news everywhere, but that the people involved will most likely go after Brea. She simply replies, "Let them come" before walking out.
- Paula Patton as Brea
- Omar Epps as John
- Laz Alonso as Darren Cole
- Roselyn Sanchez as Malia
- Luke Goss as Red, the leader of the bikers and the human trafficking ring
- William Fichtner as Carl Waynewright
- Dawn Olivieri as Cara
- Missi Pyle as Deputy Sally Marnes
- Lorin McCraley as Billy
- Adrian Bustamante as a dispatcher
Lionsgate acquired the rights to the film for $5 million in September 2017. Traffik is scheduled to be released on April 20, 2018, by Summit Entertainment. It was originally slated for April 27, 2018, but was moved up a week to avoid being released opposite Avengers: Infinity War.
In the United States and Canada, Traffik was released alongside I Feel Pretty and Super Troopers 2 and was projected to gross $3–4 million from 1,046 theaters in its opening weekend. The film made $225,000 from Thursday night previews and $1.4 million on its first day, including previews. It went on to debut to $3.9 million, finishing 9th at the box office. In its second weekend the film dropped 58% to $1.7 million, finishing 10th.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 26% based on 23 reviews, and an average rating of 4/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Traffik highlights Paula Patton's impressive dramatic chops — and smothers them in a thoroughly underwhelming exploitation thriller." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 37 out of 100, based on 10 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".
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- McNary, Dave (January 12, 2018). "Deon Taylor to Direct, Produce Police Drama '.38'". Variety. Penske Business Media.
- Shadow and Act (January 12, 2018). "Watch the chilling trailer for 'Traffik' — stars Paula Patton, Omar Epps, Laz Alonso". Shadow and Act.
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