31 Days of Halloween 2016 – #19 JoyRide (2001) with Paul Walker and LeeLee Sobieski
There’s absolutely nothing original about this film, but at least it doesn’t insult your intelligence and it’s certainly way more entertaining than other flicks in this sometimes-stupid young-people-acting-like-teens horror genre.
There’s all kinds of influences found throughout JoyRide, from Duel to Vanishing Point to The Hitcher. Some psycho trucker torments and stalks three young people, played by Paul Walker, LeeLee Sobieski, and Steve Zahn. Paul Walker plays Lewis, who is on the road driving to pick up his dreamgirl Venna (Sobieski), in order to give her a ride. In his car. He stops off to bail his brother Fuller out of jail and the three of them are tormented by Rusty Nail, after Fuller plays a prank on him.
I think the best thing about this film is either the pace or the performances. The film is short and sweet. There’s no fluff scenes or extra crap thrown in with no importance, because every scene feels like it means something, either from a character development perspective or to move the plot. The performances are great, I think. Paul Walker plays the straight man and Steve Zahn plays the crazy brother, so together that dynamic works great. Walker doesn’t have to stretch himself on this one, because he plays a genuinely nice guy, though he’s a little tight-laced, as his brother points out. Venna is a little bit of a mystery. Sobieski plays her straight but seemingly has interest in both brothers, so maybe I’m missing some deleted scenes. It’s too bad her character devolves into a damsel in distress, because she can go much deeper than that.
The delivery of the villain is done right. Rusty Nail is heard, but never seen. His voice is provided by Ted Levine, the villain from Silence of the Lambs, which I’m also reviewing this year. What a coincidence. He’s great in this film. And he doesn’t overdo it. He lets his voice do all the work because he’s only heard on the CB.
The plot of this film is not without holes, but at least it’s not swiss cheese. Rusty Nail seems to be all-present and tracks these three kids like he was a hard-boiled detective. He knows where they are at all times. He doesn’t seem to make any mistakes and seems ever present. Rusty Nail runs them all over the place just to get his rocks off I guess. His truck is awesome and evokes Duel, as does much of this film.
Overall, this is a decent movie. I’ve reviewed it before, but I think it’s worth a second glance. It’s not trying to be anything more than it is, which is an entertaining popcorn flick. There’s good action, pace, and a decent villain. Still, LeeLee Sobieski is wasted, and I’m annoyed she’s not much more than a damsel in distress. No wonder she quit acting. They also put her in her underwear, which I can’t really complain about, but she needs more to do beyond showing skin, end of story. Maybe the dynamic between Walker and Zahn makes up for, you’ll have to decide for yourself. Don’t get all allegory on this film, because this one’s meant to entertain. With popcorn.
31 Days of Halloween 2016
31. Young Frankenstein (1974)
30. Jason X (2001)
29. Cloverfield (2008)
28. The Monster Squad (1987)
27. Bad Moon (1996)
26. The Haunting (1963)
25. Splinter (2008)
24. Frenzy (1972)
23. Aggression Scale (2012)
22. The Exorcist III
21. At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul (1963)
20. Silver Bullet (1985)
19. Joy Ride (2001) – This post
18. Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)
The Funhouse (1981) by Tobe Hooper Shin Godzilla (2016)
16. Videodrome (1983)
15. Re-Animator (1985)
14. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
13. Cube (1997)
12. Evil Dead
11. Day of the Dead (1985)
10. Tales of Halloween (2015)
9. They Live (1988)
8. The Innocents (1961)
7. Jacob’s Ladder (1990)
6. Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966)
5. I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle (1990)
4. Hatchet (2006)
3. The Little Shop of Horrors (1960)
2. Halloween II
1. Silence of the Lambs