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Joy Ride

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Joy Ride

Starring: Steve Zahn, Paul Walker
Director: John Dahl
Rated: R
RunTime: 105 Minutes
Release Date: October 2001
Genres: Action, Suspense

*Also starring: Matthew Kimbrough, Leelee Sobieski, Rachel Singer

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Review by Susan Granger
3 stars out of 4

Unseen terror is always more frightening than the obvious - and that's what makes John Dahl's newest thriller so scary. College is over for the summer when Lewis (Paul Walker), a Berkeley freshman, buys a beat-up '71 Chrysler Newport so that he can pick up a high-school pal, Venna (Leelee Sobieski) at her dorm in Denver, hoping their platonic relationship will evolve into something more as they drive home to New Jersey. En route, he makes a detour to Salt Lake City to bail his notoriously irresponsible brother Fuller (Steve Zahn) out of jail. When Fuller buys a used CB-radio for fun on the road, they decide to play a prank. Using the handle "Candy Cane" - with Lewis pretending to be an amorous woman on the prowl - they lure an amorous trucker,"Rusty Nail," to a roadside motel at midnight. "Bring pink champagne," Candy Cane purrs. "It's my favorite." But when Rusty Nail turns out to be a psycho-killer, the situation is far from humorous. Nevertheless, they pick up Venna who cheerily chirps, "You guys ready for an adventure?" She knows nothing about what happened - until they discover that Rusty's big black rig is relentlessly stalking them down the highway. After "Red Rock West" and "The Last Seduction," John Dahl proved himself a master of film noir imagery, like glaring headlights on a deserted highway and flickering neon. Working from Clay Tarver and J.J. Abrams clever if less-than-credible script, he utilizes them and more, throwing in a chase through a dark Nebraska cornfield that evokes Hitchcock's "North by Northwest" and Spielberg's "Duel" about a faceless trucker who terrorizes a driver. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Joy Ride" is a tense, twisting, sinister 7. It's a popcorn picture that's guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat.

Copyright 2001 Susan Granger

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