Joy Ride
Shaken. Fuller, Venna and Lewis (Zahn, Sobieski, Walker) just wanted to take a simple drive...
UK title: Roadkill

dir John Dahl
scr Clay Tarver, JJ Abrams
with Paul Walker, Steve Zahn, Leelee Sobieski, Jessica Bowman, Stuart Stone, Brian Leckner, Jim Beaver, Satch Huizenga, Basil Wallace, Kenneth White, Luis Cortes, Jay Hernandez
release US 5.Oct.01; UK 5.Apr.02
Fox 01/US

4 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E

it started as a joke While there's nothing terribly original about this film, every elements works perfectly to create one of the most honestly scary thrillers in recent memory. On his way home from university, Lewis (Walker) swaps his plane ticket from California to New Jersey for a beat up Chrysler so he can stop off in Colorado and pick up Venna (Sobieski), a girl he's trying to impress. But first he finds out his no-good brother Fuller (Zahn) is in jail again, so he swings by Salt Lake City to collect him. A bit of sibling goofiness ensues, during which a practical joke goes horrifically wrong and leaves them pursued by the victim of the scam. They escape across into Colorado and collect Venna, and things seem to be back on track. Then the bad guy makes his reappearance. With a vengeance.

OK so it's like every teen road movie ever made, with a lot of Spielberg's Dual thrown in along the way. But with Dahl at the helm and a trio of terrific actors at the centre, the film springs to life, grabs onto us and never lets up for a second, cranking up the tension carefully at every stage until the nearly unbearable finale. This is extremely clever filmmaking, and Dahl knows exactly how to set up a suspenseful set piece for maximum effect, never quite showing us everything but giving us nice, long details that send shivers up our spines and set us up for even bigger jolts later. Walker continues his transformation into Keanu with another likeable, energetic performance; Sobieski is a calm, beautiful, level-headed presence; and Zahn as usual steals every scene with sheer kinetic wit. There's not much to it, really--no deep and meaningful subtext about anything--but it sure knows how to make us squirm.
themes, violence, language cert 15 28.Sep.01

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
now the joke's on them send your review to Shadows... "This is a wonderful film. It doesn't waste time trying to be deep or emotional, it just gets to the point. It is one of the scariest, thrilling movies I have seen recently. 9/10." --Kyle J, hotmail 21.Mar.02
2001 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall