This one has been on my To Do list for a while but it has taken me until now to finally sit down and watch it.
I can honestly say that this wasn't what I was expecting at all. I hadn't really read much into it, I just took my dad's recommendation and went with it. That aside it is a thoroughly entertaining film. The hour and a half flew by in a furious car chase, keeping me alert and engaged.
"It started as a joke, now the joke is on them..."
Joy Ride is essentially a road trip movie that goes wrong. Lewis is travelling back from college with the intention of picking up the girl he fancies (Venna) on the way back. On hearing his brother has been arrested again, he detours slightly in order to pick him up from the station. His brother, Fuller, buys a radio and the two brothers start conversing with other drivers on the airwaves. They lead a lonely trucker on with the false pretence that they are an attractive female lady and will have sex with them at their motel room. This is where the thrill of our story begins. The trucker clearly cannot handle a joke and so engages in a fury of repent filled rage upon the brothers.
The main thing I liked about Joy Ride was the original, well written, well executed screenplay. JJ Abrams and Clay Tarver have done a fantastic job in creating a tense thriller free from predictability and cliche. Director John Dahl manages to keep the energy in the script alive with his on screen interpretation. The film is very engaging throughout containing few moments of dramatically lowered energy. The dialogue between the brothers is written naturally with a lot of wit. You instantly like the partnership of the brothers and enjoy their exchange.
Of course, a lot of this likeability is down to the chemistry between the actors. Steve Zahn (Fuller) and Paul Walker (Lewis) have great on set chemistry that allows them to be believable as brothers. Their performances, whilst not Oscar worthy or anything outstanding, are effortlessly watchable. They play their part well and effectively manage to draw us into their world.
The bad guy in this scenario, 'Rusty Nail' has cleverly been portrayed on screen. He has a voice of calm coolness that immediately makes us uneasy. The appearance of this character is not revealed to us until our protagonists are allowed to see him, which allows us to be in the same position as the brothers. We find out everything at the same pace as they do, and our questions are not answered before theirs are. We are completely submerged into their world.
I really liked how this looked on screen. There was a lot of pathetic fallacy and a great use of shadows. In doing this the idea of mystery and the unknown was created effortlessly, quietly cheering on the unease lurking at the back of our minds.
Whilst I did immensely enjoy this film. It was a pleasant surprise and a very gripping horror/thriller, I cannot bring myself to rate it higher. I think all the cogs present with this production made for a very well oiled, smooth running machine. However that being so, I still felt the reason for this was because the ingredients were easy. It's easy to cook the pasta, but a great deal harder to cook the sauce. This is exactly what I feel about this film. It's like pasta. Something that is hard to mess up but the end product is still a delicious piece of enjoyment. I think that this would be an epic fail if any component fell into the hands of an untalented film maker, however all the people present on production clearly know what they're doing and so were able to pull off the film with the right amount of energy and deliciousness.
A film that I would recommend. It is one of the best thrillers I have seen in a long time, with a satisfying ending. The ending is something that usually lets me down with films but I think this one was superb. The climax was tense and it didn't finish with you feeling cheated. A very entertaining watch for my Sunday Night. 8/10