After forays into film noir, thrillers, dramas, and even documentaries, director John Dahl tries the teen horror genre on for size. Paul Walker stars as Lewis Thomas, a college freshman embarking on a cross-country road trip during summer break to pick up his girlfriend Venna (Leelee Sobieski). Along for the ride is Lewis' brother Fuller (Steve Zahn), a practical joker who uses the car's CB radio to play a cruel prank on a lonely trucker known only by the handle Rusty Nail. The victim of Fuller's gag turns out to be a psychotic murderer and soon the brothers are being pursued by the relentless stalker, who gets his revenge in gruesome fashion. Joy Ride, which co-stars Matthew Kimbrough, was produced under the working title "Squelch."~Karl Williams
Sometimes we just want to smack teenagers and say "wake up!!" Be respectful! This movie, however, you want to really feel for them and save them!! The plot, story, and psycho truck driver and teen characters are excellent parts of the movie!
What makes Joy Ride scary is its believability, this kind of thing can actually happen, probably not to the extreme as portrayed in the film, but people do play jokes on each other constantly, and some do get carried away. Composed of a relatively young cast, Steve Zahn (Fuller Thomas,) Paul Walker (Lewis Thomas) and Leelee Sobieski (Venna) did a good job keeping the audiences attention glued to the screen, the pacing was actually well done because there was not a dull moment on this road trip. Unfortunately, with this genre there is usually little character development, which is true for Joy Ride, but it isn't necessarily a bad thing here.
Joy Ride was an entertaining and short movie that doesn't take itself too seriously, the direction was tight and the script was decent, it's a great film for adults and teenager alike. Just remember, it's all fun and games until someone gets hurt, and do unto others as you would have them done to you.