Strange things start happening in and around a small town in Nevada, close to Area 51. The trucks seem to have gained intelligence and homicidal tendencies. They work together to kill nearly every human they see, running them over, crashing into their cars, whatever it takes. A disparate group of survivors end up fleeing to a gas and shop station for refuge and protection, and together they try to work out why this is happening and what they can do about it. An alliance of trucks assembles outside and begins to circle the store, making escape unlikely. The humans are left alive and mostly untouched, unless they try and get away, which a few do. They are promptly run down and dispatched. Those left inside are compelled to start refueling the trucks outside, and they use this opportunity as a distraction so a couple of them can escape on a motorcycle and go get some help. The plan works but angers the truck, who decide that the humans have been nuisance enough. The few people left alive flee into the wilderness, hoping to hide out and escape. But the trucks are out there, and they’re still looking…
A made-for-TV movie, Trucks is the second and (so far) last adaptation of the Stephen King short story. It comes a little over a decade after King himself filmed his wild and dumb and fun version, Maximum Overdrive. Why anyone would choose this particular story to redo is beyond me, given the volumes of short stories King has that have never been broached. Like the original, this one is pretty silly. There’s really no explanation given for why the trucks have turned murderous (other than “aliens” and a mysterious comet cloud) and that’s okay because we don’t really need one. But why don’t other vehicles gain sentience? Again, probably doesn’t matter in the long run. Still, it sticks in my craw a bit. This version isn’t as gleefully dumb as the first one and it certainly removes all of the comic book affectations. The original was big and explosive and crazy and this one is smaller, dingier, and just a tad bit nastier. Its budget is much tinier, and it shows, but they do their best with what they have. Aside from a few silly deaths (the toy truck death belongs in another movie, even though it is amusing). and the constant conceit of victims freezing in place, throwing their hands up to cover their faces, and allowing the trucks to run them down when they have plenty of time to flee, this is a fairly decent adaptation.
Nothing award-winning here, and certainly not a film that begs for multiple viewings, it stands up just fine for a one-time watch. Stephen King completists will definitely enjoy this and those curious what a 90s version of Maximum Overdrive would look like will have that curiosity satisfied. For everyone else, you can probably avoid this and live your lives happily and blissfully unaware that a remake like this ever happened in the first place.