Film Review : JOY RIDE * * * 1/2
Joy Ride (2001)
CAST Paul Walker, Steve Zahn, Leelee Sobieski, Jessica Bowman
DIRECTOR John Dahl
John Dahl's Joy Ride, is a relentless thrilling experience crafted with percision. Step by step the movie unfolds flawlessly, gripping you to your seat.
The film stars Paul Walker as Lewis Thomas, a young kid who is in love with a long time childhood friend named Venna, played by the talented Leelee Sobieski. His intentions are to pick up his brother in Denver who has spent a few years in prison. His brother Fuller, played by Steve Zahn, is older, and he has not seen Lewis in many years. How many is unclear, because we never have that knowledge given to us by Dahl. It really isn't necessary. Lewis picks up his brother in a used car. Conveniently it has a CB radio in it. The brothers decide to pull a prank on one of the listeners, Rusty Nail. Lewis pretends to be a girl with a handle of Candy Cain.
They set up Rusty Nail to meet the non existent Candy Cain in a motel room which is next door to the one they are staying in. They send Rusty Nail to this rude mean tenant who gave fuller problems earlier in the day in the motel office. We find out next morning that that persons jaw was removed and he was found face down in the middle of a stranded highway. The following day Rusty Nail gets back on the radio looking for Candy Cain. Well, one thing leads to another and Rusty Nail figures out it was these two guys, Lewis and Fuller who set him up and he's not happy about this.
What then pursues to happen is a series of relentless tauntings and chases that leave you shaking in your shoes. The movie is so well acted and played out piece by piece, you feel like a passenger in the car. Later when they meet up with Venna, they decide not to tell her of the terror they have suffered through. However, terror finds them again and she becomes deeply involved with the story.
This could have been just another dumn slasher movie with gore and vintage jumping from behind corners and screaming BOO! But no, this film is intelligent and makes the viewer rely on imagination and instinct. How could he know that?, how did he get here?, how does he know where we're going? All that stuff is asked by them and ourselves. Some of the dialogue in the beginning seems unnecessary and disjointed, but we can forgive those shortcomings. Because the way the film handles this reworked material makes it alive and fresh as possible. this is a very good movie I recommend to anyone who enjoys being scared.