Foregoing the true nature of the title, the film centers around Penny Deerborn (Rachel Miner), a fragile soul consumed by amaxophobia (the fear of riding in a car). While on a retreat to face her fear, her therapist (Mimi Rogers) picks up the wrong hitchhiker. Penny Dreadful is absolutely dripping with horror movie cliches, but instead of adding any kind of nostalgic flair, they instead hinder the film. Every time a character inexplicably trips and falls or a car engine stalls, you can feel the boiling ire from within. There really aren't any standout performances here. Miner is satisfactory as the 'final girl' who eventually fights back in the final few scenes, and the hitchhiker is as run-of-the-mill as it gets. The minimalist cast is balanced out by cannon fodder character actors who simply add to the body count. The concept of an amaxophobic fighting for her life within the very object she fears is sound, but in the long run it added almost no depth to the experience.
1½ suicide attempts out of 5