Who among you have ever pulled a prank on someone? Come on….don’t be shy now and speak up. I think it’s pretty much rather safe to say that we all have at some point, right? Whether it’s as a kid ringing the doorbell at a house and then quickly running away, or it’s as an adult thinking up something more elaborate. We all sometimes like to play a joke on someone. Sometimes when I have a lazy day, I like to go to YouTube and watch some truly crazy prank videos of people trying to scare the living daylights out of others. Some of them are really stupid, but there are also some that are amazingly brilliant. It’s always nice to see the response that people have to these pranks. A lot of people just laugh at the jokes, but there are also a few that really turn angry. For me those are the funniest ones to watch, but you also have to wonder at what point a joke isn’t really funny anymore. I draw the line at jokes that intentionally hurt people. I mean fun and games are all good, but if it ends up truly hurting someone, that for me isn’t a joke. But what if a prank gets turned around completely…and turns into something deadly? Funny (see what I did there) you should mention that….
Lewis Thomas is a university student who is on his summer break and is preparing to drive home on a cross country road trip. But before he heads home he has to make a stop to pick up his friend and crush Vena who has just ended her relationship. And of course this is a perfect time for Lewis to maybe make his move. However when he calls his mum announcing his plans he learns that his older brother Fuller has been arrested yet again. Not being happy about it, but having very little choice in the matter, Lewis bails Fuller out and he comes along for the ride. While at a gas station Fuller decides to install an old CB radio on the car of his brother. On the road the two of them listen in to truckers conversing with each other and eventually the two of them decide to do some talking as well. Fuller has always been a prankster and he wants his brother to impersonate a sultry woman on the radio waves. Lewis goes along and introducing himself as Candy Cane he seduces a truck driver called Rusty Nail that totally falls for it. However, the joke will soon be on them as Rusty Nail turns out to be a complete psychopath. Lewis and Fuller will soon be in for the ride of their lives….literally….
Halloween is almost upon us, and while I would not call this movie a horror movie, it’s certainly one that comes close to that genre. Joy Ride is erm a fun ride (okay enough with the puns already) that doesn’t takes itself to seriously but is still a joy to watch (okay…seriously quit now!). It’s always strange to see Paul Walker in a film knowing that he sadly isn’t alive anymore. He is definitely an actor that really went way before his time. In this film he plays the role of Lewis and as always he pulls it off with his natural charm. His character is just your typical highschool student, that you may have seen in countless other films. Still, it’s hard not to like him, as he is just someone that has been unwillingly put into a very dangerous situation and tries to make things right. Steve Zahn is the actor that was cast in the role of the older brother, and his character was the complete opposite of Paul’s. Fuller is a total prankster, and certainly serves as the comic relief in this film. Zahn simply excells in roles such as these, and this one was no exception.
The love interest, Vena, was played by actress Leelee Sobieski. Once hailed to be a very promising young actress she pretty much disappeared from the big screen. Which is a real shame as not only was she very pretty, she was also someone who could really act. Which she proves in this film. While she hasn’t a huge part in this movie, I still liked her role a lot. But it’s not the acting that you want to watch this movie for, it’s the thrills, and for the most part the film definitely succeeds in that. I like the way the tension is cranked up in this movie beginning almost as a bit of a comedy, and then, with every passing minute it becomes darker. For people who might be squeamish when it comes to blood, you will happy to know that this movie doesn’t contain any scenes like that. This is a pure thriller with some heartpounding and nailbiting scenes, especially in the later parts of the film. About halfway through the movie it does have a few moments where the tension slows down, and while I would not necessarily call this a bad thing, it occasionally slowed down a bit too much.
The truck driver who is voiced by an uncredited Ted Levine, is never seen fully which of course only makes it more enjoyable. For me at least. It’s the unseen terror that usually is just way more effective and that’s certainly achieved with this film. All in all there is very little not to like about this film. I do have to give you a small warning though. Joy Ride was followed by two sequels that went straight to video. If you were maybe thinking of giving them a watch after this one, just know that they are totally different movies. Instead of thrills, they rely more on blood and gore, and are simply a pale shadow of this one. The original though is just a great thriller, with some very decent performances, a whiff of humor thrown into the mix, and enough thrills to make your heart pump faster. It’s the perfect film to watch on Halloween, when you like your horror/thriller movies without blood. Just go along with the ride…..
I give Joy Ride a 8 out of 10 score.