Bruce Willis and Megan Fox starrer Crime thriller film, Midnight in the Switchgrass, investigates the true story of Texas’ most vicious serial killer, the Truck Stop Killer.
Narrating the tale of 2004, Pensacola, Randall Emmett’s debut film, follows two FBI agents and Texas Ranger, who unravels the mystery clouding around a bona fide serial killer. However, it isn’t a Fincher film, hence don’t expect a captivating thrill and threat. Emmett’s tale and direction are much simpler and sometimes a bit tasteless.
An opening aerial shot establishes 2004, Pensacola. A voice-over discusses that humans have a choice to be either prey and predator. But the saying is baseless in Pensacola, where the prey doesn’t have a preference against their predators.
A 16-year-old Pensacola girl, Lucy Baylor, is reported missing, and the local sheriff’s department employs its force in her search. Soon, a concrete salesman finds a 20-year-old female’s body lying dead near the isolated sideroads. Texas Ranger Byron Crawford (Emile Hirsch) investigates the crime scene and identifies the body as Sarah Kellogg. There are severe bite marks on her body that reckon she was assaulted and murdered.
On the other part of the city, FBI agent Karl Helter (Bruce Willis) and his undercover partner Rebecca Lombardi (Megan Fox) investigate a sex-trafficking ring. Rebecca meets a trafficker (Machine Gun Kelly) believing it to be their target but soon finds out that he is the wrong guy. The duo leaves the spot empty-handed.
Byron connects the disappearance of Tracey Lee Walls and the murder of Sarah with previous I-10 corridor murder cases in recent months. According to his data, the killings matched the assaults of a bonafide serial killer he had been chasing for a couple of years. In his investigation, he crosses paths with FBI agents Karl and Rebecca, who investigate a similar case of sex-trafficking workers. They team up to catch the notorious Truck Stop Killer.
Who was the Truck Stop Killer?
Byron explained to Rebecca that the killing of Sarah Kellogg and the prostitute murder at The Oasis Motel resembled the work of Truck Stop Killer, but these two killings were rushed and improvised. He later underlined that maybe the killer was looking for someone else and ended up killing them.
Rebecca supported Byron’s theory and revealed that she started online communication with a stranger, “BigRigGlory.” They decided to meet at The Oasis Motel, but some pimp spooked him off. Rebecca speculated that he might have met the prostitute and killed her, thinking she was Rebecca. She blamed herself for the killing of the prostitute.
Byron and Rebecca constructed an undercover operation to bring out the hound. Rebecca contacted the truck driver again and arranged a meeting at the wildest spot in the Panhandle, The Handlebar. In the bar, Peter Hillborough (Lukas Haas) approached Rebecca and drugged her. She recognized the lightning bolt tattoo on his arm in an unconscious state and tried contacting Byron, but it was too late. Peter, aka Truck Stop Killer, abducted Rebecca and took her away.
Later, Byron followed the lead and, through CCTV footage, discovered the freight company for which Peter worked. He reached the Southern Harbor Freight office and found details about Peter Hillsborough. The guy matched the description of a white male, the mid-30s truck driver responsible for ruthless killing in Pensacola. Byron concluded that Peter Hillsborough was the Truck Stop Killer.
‘Midnight in the Switchgrass’ Ending Explained
Peter locked Rebecca and Tracey inside his house shed. Rebecca speculated that Peter was going to kill Tracey and replace her with Rebecca. Hence, she compelled Tracey to gather strength and run away.
Tracey crawled out of the shed, but Peter’s daughter found her running in the field. She alerted Peter, who started chasing Tracey. Peter’s elderly neighbor Mrs. Cubber harbored Tracey and saved her. Peter returned to his shed to interrogate Rebecca. In a feud, Rebecca pierced Peter’s heart, and he dropped to the ground. However, in the struggle, he pulled off the chains that choked Rebecca’s neck. Before her breath stopped, Byron reached the shed and saved her.
While the film didn’t directly suggest the fate of Peter Hillborough, in real life, he was convicted and sentenced to life.
Fulfilling his promise, Byron visited Kellogg’s Residence and informed Sarah’s mother about the arrest of her daughter’s murderer. Byron also handed her Sarah’s chain necklace that the police recovered from Peter. It was a subtle hint that Sarah, Byron, and everyone linked to Truck Stop Killer found their closure.
Midnight in the Switchgrass is a 2021 Crime Thriller film directed by debut director Randall Emmett. The film is inspired by the real-life story of Texas’ serial killer, Truck Stop Killer.