The Wraith (1986) Summary

Movie review coming on October 30, 2021

The Wraith (1986)The Wraith begins with four brightly-colored spheres descending into the night sky. They collide at a crossroads in the Middle of Nowhere, Arizona. From it, we see a helmeted figure emerge before driving off in an all black Dodge M4S Turbo Interceptor.

We next head to the small town of Brooks, Arizona. There, Packard Walsh leads a gang of car thieves that coerces people into racing them for their their car’s pink slips. Packard rules the town through intimidation, and even views some people as his own property like the beautiful Keri Johnson. This led to someone recently murdering her boyfriend, James “Jamie” Hankins without a trace. Although Keri was with him at the time of his death, she doesn’t have any recollection of the incident after her hospitalization.

Soon another man, Jacob “Jake” Kesey, arrives to Brooks on a Honda XL350R Enduro dirt bike. He befriends both Keri and Jamie’s brother William “Billy” Hankins as they both work at the local burger joint, Big Kay’s.

Coincidentally at the same time, Packard begins to lose all control of his illegal race scheme when that Turbo Interceptor appears out of the blue. Black body armor, complete with a black race helmet, covers the car’s mysterious driver. Looking closer, metal braces, similar to what victims with severe physical trauma would wear, also adorn that armor.

This unknown driver challenges Packard’s gang to race. The result is the explosive deaths of gang members, Oggie Fisher and Minty, from the high-speed accidents. However, these fiery crashes unexpectedly leave the victim’s bodies untouched except for their burnt-out eye sockets. Sheriff Loomis and his lawmen take chase of the Turbo Interceptor, but it quickly vanishes into a cloud of brilliant light.

Later, two more gang members, Skank and Gutterboy, fall victim to this so-called Wraith after they race through the gang’s isolated warehouse. This too results in a huge explosion. With Packard’s gang now mostly dead, Rughead, the gang’s tech-man, and the only one who didn’t participate in Jamie’s murder, figures out why the gang is targeted for death except for himself. Once Sheriff Loomis arrives at the most recent explosion, Rughead tells him his theory.

However, that jealous Packard next spots Keri kissing Jake. So, he kidnaps her from Big Kay’s before giving Billy a beatdown when he tries to stop Packard. After Packard tells her they are going to California, Keri says she will never love him. Pissed at this revelation, Packard gets out of his car and pulls a knife.

The Turbo Interceptor slides up next to him, and challenges Packard to a race. He agrees, and dies in a fiery explosion just like his other comrades for his effort. Sheriff Loomis decides to call off the hunt for the driver of the car because he thinks roadblocks won’t stop something that can’t be stopped.

Later that night, when Keri arrives home, the Turbo pulls up. The driver gets out, and transforms into Jake. It’s then that Keri realizes Jake is actually a version of her dead boyfriend, Jamie. He says that this form is as close as he could come to what he once was. He then asks her to wait so he can do one last thing.

Jake drives the Turbo to Big Kay’s, and hands Billy the keys. When he tells Billy that his work is finished. Billy replies, “Who are you, bro?” Jake answers, “You said it, Billy.” As Jake rides off on his dirt bike, Billy yells, “Jake,” before realizing who he really is, and exclaims, “Jamie!”

Jake picks up Keri while Sheriff Loomis watches from a distance. The two lovebirds ride off into the desert night for a happy ending.

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