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Joy Ride
3 reviews

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Movie Details

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Directed By
John Dahl

Written By:
J.J. Abrams, Clay Tarver

Paul Walker, Steve Zahn, Leelee Sobieski, Stuart Stone, Basil Wallace, Brian Leckner, Jay Hernandez, Jessica Bowman

Buy on DVD
Joy Ride (2001)
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Movie Review by Chris
November 15th, 2008

'Joy Ride' is an acceptable thriller from directer John Dahl. At times it can be funny and goofy, but other times the suspense and scares really get kicking in. A sequel to the film was just released, of course it was straight to DVD but I still have it and I liked this film enough to see how anyone can continue it. Paul Walker, Steve Zahn and Leelee Sobieski all star, each one doing a fine job with the role. We have seen this story before, where a few innocent kids play a trick on some people and those people they ended up playing the trick on, just so happened to be cold blooded psychopaths. I can ignore the fact that this plot is nothing new because I actually had an overall good time with the film. I thought the pace was fine and everything came out just fine. There were a few small problems here and there but I can by pass them for a little while.

The plot concerns Lewis Thomas (Paul Walker), a young man who decides to go cross-country to pick up his high school sweetheart, Venna Wilcox (Leelee Sobieski), from college. On his way there, he bails his brother, Fuller Thomas (Steve Zahn), out of jail. Fuller, looking for a good time, decides to ride with Lewis. During their trip to pick up Venna, Fuller coaxes Lewis into playing a cruel joke, through their CB radio, on a truck driver, known only as 'Rusty Nail' (voiced by Ted Levine). When the joke takes a deadly turn, Lewis, Venna, and Fuller find themselves being relentlessly stalked by the psychotic truck driver who is looking for more than an apology.

After his roles in The Fast and the Furious, Bobby Z and Into the Blue, Paul Walker seemed to have this slow down in his acting career. Lately, he's kinda dissapeared off the radar and not much news about him is coming out. 'Joy Ride' was released back in 2001, the same year The Fast and the Furious was released. This was the time when people liked Paul for his acting, not just his good looks. Paul plays as Lewis Thomas, the good brother in his family. The thing about Paul Walker is that in many of his roles he seems like a follower then anything else. In 2 Fast 2 Furious, he put on this kinda gangsta performance which was appropriate for the movie, but it just made him look and sound stupid. I liked him here, I really did. I appreciated the feelings his characters had for Venna, and I appreciated his love for his older brother Fuller. I just thought that for a thriller character, he matched things pretty fine.

Steve Zahn belongs more in comedies then he does in horror/thriller films. Steve is a funny guy, if he has a role which allows him to be funny without ruining his performances or plots. He is the tension breaker in 'Joy Ride'. Almost everytime we see him in the movie he's cracking some joke or just saying something stupid, that comes out funny. When a really tense scene in the film comes along and bad things happen to our characters, when it's all over we get a few laughs out of Steve. He plays Fuller, the worse brother of his family. He just got bailed out of jail and seems to be placed in jail a lot, which explains his behaviors. He comes up with the idea about prank CB'ing this truck driver and follows to make everything worse. Im not sure if we can necessarily blame him for the events in the movie, but he definitely is a large part of them. Leelee Sobieski has a role in here too, as Venna. I enjoyed her time on screen, though her emotions ruin some of the moments, I liked her.

'Joy Ride' isnt a gory slasher movie, completely opposite. It works more with building suspense and coming up with casual scares then anything else. There are some pretty suspenseful moments here, backed up with some finely tuned directing as well. Now, since were dealing with big trucks on the road and a horny killer looking for a man named Candy Cane, how can somebody find this scary? With a CB radio, there are no signals which show where the transmissions are coming from, so it's just a voice. Out on that open road though, somebody could follow you for miles and you'll never have a clue. There were some parts, such as showing the truck fly through dirt roads without flipping his cargo, in which were a little exaggerated. The scariest scene of the movie though is one which deals largely with a cornfield, where the trucker follows them into a cornfield. This scene works because it deals with the fear of being alone in such a large place while being chased by a killer.

'Joy Ride' works at moments and doesnt work in others, but its an acceptable thriller.

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