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*** Official "JOY RIDE" Review Thread (1 Viewer)

Robert Crawford

Senior HTF Member
Dec 9, 1998
Real Name
This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "Joy Ride". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread. Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning! If you need to discuss those type of issues, I have designated an Official Discussion Thread which can be found at this link .
Again, without warning, I will delete all posts that are not a HTF member review!
Thank you for your consideration in this matter.
Peter Staddon: "I didn't say you can put 'Monkeybone' back!"
[Edited last by Chris Dugger on October 07, 2001 at 07:22 AM]
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Patrick Sun

Senior HTF Member
Jun 30, 1999
I found this film to be average, nothing spectacular to garner the praise it's been getting from the critics.
Anyone who has seen the trailers knows what it's all about, no real surprises.
I rate it 2.5 stars, or a grade of C+.

Scott Weinberg

Senior HTF Member
Oct 3, 2000
In the "road stalker" sub-genre of horror movies, a few titles stand out above the traffic. The Hitcher, Duel and Breakdown are three films in which vast expanses of American highways are the setting for some dark and frantic pursuits. You can add John Dahl's addictively entertaining Joy Ride to the list.
Dahl's affinity for exposing the underbelly of seemingly innocuous locales was evident in films like The Last Seduction and Red Rock West, and his latest effort turns a lazy cross-country drive into a manic case of cat-and-mouse survival.
Paul Walker stars as Lewis, a college man all set to fly home for the holidays. When his longtime girl/friend expresses an interest in seeing him, Lewis promptly trades his airline ticket in for a classic roadster and hits the highway. After learning that his brother Fuller has been arrested in Salt Lake City, Lewis makes the detour and bails his estranged sibling out of jail.
Once they're back on the road, Lewis and Fuller engage in some rather cruel voice pranks over their CB radio. Let's just say they end up screwing with the wrong trucker. And that's an understatement. To divulge anything further would spoil a lot of the fun and make no mistake - Joy Ride is a lot of fun.
While the screenplay (by Clay Tarver and Jeffrey Abrams) is just fresh and original enough to keep things moving, the real star of the movie is Dahl's camera. The endless stretches of highway and the seemingly harmless sound of radio static take on truly ominous tones, and the result is a movie that creeps you out in an enjoyable subtle fashion.
Several effective scenes of tension are littered throughout the film, most notable a sequence showing the brothers trying desperately to eavesdrop on a neighobring motel room. And without giving anything away at all, Joy Ride has a white-knuckled finale that will have you pulling at your clothes.
Aside from the perpetually hidden antagonist known as "Rusty Nail", Joy Ride is essentially a three-character piece. As Lewis, Paul Walker gives possibly his strongest performance to date. Without the unrealistic swagger necessary for movies like The Fast and the Furious and She's All That, Walker could prove to be a solid character actor. As the lovely Venna, Leelee Sobieski (Deep Impact, The Glass House) is quite good, although she only a few opportunities to prove it.
The performer who steals the entire film is the fantastic young actor Steve Zahn. Perhaps best known as "the funny one" from That Thing You Do!, Zahn has filled his resume with an unending string of quirky and entertaining performances in movies like Out of Sight, Suburbia and Happy, Texas. Zahn has such a sly and bemused delivery that he's simply a joy to watch.
While Joy Ride certainly isn't going to win any awards for rampant originality, Dahl and his cast deserve praise for breathing some entertaining new life into a generally stale genre. Imagine Jeepers Creepers with twice the smarts and half the silliness.
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Mark Cappelletty

Senior HTF Member
Jun 6, 1999
Saw it today and thought it was very good; lean and mean-- not bloated and insulting like most of this genre.
Is that the same Clay Tarver from the band Chavez who wrote this? I know music critic/one-time Guided by Voices bassist Jim Greer co-wrote that Max Keeble movie.


Senior HTF Member
Jan 17, 2001
Las Vegas
Real Name
John Steffens
I also thought this was pure fun. Alot better than what I thought it was going to be. I thought Steve Zahn gave a strong performance. A nice little cat & mouse thriller, without all that stupid unable to kill the slasher, by riddiling him with bullets, knives and such. Just an average guy chasing some pranksters.
Just a nice solid thriller. A VERY nice change!
[Edited last by JohnS on October 10, 2001 at 02:54 AM]

Roland G

Stunt Coordinator
May 10, 2000
hey....after all those bad horror movies...joy ride is actually quite good.
IT isn`t a perfect movie..nor a very good movie..but it is an entertaining piece of film that has some funny and scary stuff in it.
if it fits your taste...go and watch

Mark Palermo

Second Unit
Jun 28, 2000
Displaying a faith in pop that’s evaded by 85% of escapist fare, Joy Ride understands myth as an abstract means of confronting life. It’s a scary film; an atmospheric, unrelenting, character-rich thriller that includes one of the most jolting shock-moments I can remember. Director John Dahl, who hasn’t made anything near this level since The Last Seduction, employs his neo-noir palette to tell the story of Lewis (Paul Walker), a college student eager to drive his dream-girl Venna (Leelee Sobieski) home during a cross country trek to New Jersey. First stopping to pick up his brother Fuller (Steve Zahn) from a Salt Lake City prison, the brothers then prank a trucker named Rusty Nail on their CB radio, telling him in a faked female voice to meet at a roadside motel. When the man residing in that room is found mutilated, the guilt-ridden duo find themselves pursued by a vengeful truck driver. The basics should sound familiar to anyone who’s seen Duel. While Spielberg’s film is great stuff, Joy Ride carries its premise to a tougher place through an omnipresent subtext of predatory sex. Dahl subjects his characters and audience not to violence but fear, a trauma closer to the mental violations synonymous with rape. It’s the invasions which are perceived as harmless (the prank call, Fuller’s effort to lay Venna despite his brother’s interest in her) that are counterattacked with the highway killer--a more extreme form of sexual destruction. By the time Sobieski is bound with a shotgun phallically aimed at her mouth, it’s evident that no "youth-market" film has been this fearless since Heathers. The decision to never show us Rusty Nail smartly detracts from obsessing over the impossibilities of the character being in multiple places at once. Like the Blair Witch, he’s as much a manifestation of the protagonists’ paranoia as anything. Joy Ride resurrects slasher films and noir thrillers, lifting bored genre traditions to nearly anarchic levels of intensity.
Rating: A

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