Monday, 23 June 2014

Joyride 3: Roadkill

Joyride 3: Roadkill (2014)
Director: Declan O'Brien
Starring: Ken Kirzinger, Jesse Hutch and Ben Hollingsworth
Running Time: 96 min

Ahhh, the Joy Ride series.  I had to re-watch the first two because I forgot that I had seen them.  I'm guessing, Rusty Nail returns in this one for some more jaw cutting, transport truck terror!  Also, I noticed that it was written and directed by Declan O'Brien, who took over the Wrong Turn franchise on their third kick at the cat, so hopefully he can get might this rig hauling horror in the right direction.

Jordan, his girlfriend, Jewel and their friends have built a race car and are heading up to Canada for a huge race car event.  On their way, they stop at a truck stop for food and ask a local trucker if this other highway is quicker to get to get to unspecific area of Canada where they have the huge car racing events.  The trucker goes crazy and warns them not to drive on that highway because people and vehicles have gone missing and a lot of people have died on that stretch of road.  Luckily, during his barrage of terrifying warnings and crazy talk, the sheriff happens to walk in and assures Jordan and his friends that the roads fine and not to worry.  So, they grab their food and hit the road.
  While on the road, Jordan and his friend Austin decide to cut off a rig for fun.  Unfortunately, it's Rusty Nails' rig and he doesn't like when people fuck with him.  So, he tries to run them down but Jordan and his friends are too quick and Rustys' truck ends up jack knifing.  Pissed at how dangerous Jordan has been driving, Jewel gets in the other car with Austin and heads out, while Jordan and his three other friends ride with him in the race car.  That night, Jewel and Austin get run off the road in a fiery blaze by Rusty Nail.  Luckily, they're still alive so he captures them. He then contacts Jordan and tells him that he doesn't give him their race car then Jewel and Austin die!  Can Jordan save his friends or will they suffer the same type of wrath that others have when they cross Rusty Nail?!?!

  This was a lot better than I thought it was going to be when it first arrived.  Director Declan O'Brien (Sharktopus, Wrong Turn 3) tells a decent story and keeps the action moving throughout the film.  There really isn't any lows or dips that I noticed, it's pretty much full steam ahead suspense and action.  Which is pretty sweet.  Also, there are some good innovative death scenes in this with some excellent gore.  This is definitely not a 14A film like the original. 

One of the issues with the film is that they took away some of Rusty Nails' calling cards, like when he would cut of people's jaws off or how he talked to them about the "storm coming" before he went after people.  I'm sure the jaw thing, was to save time and wanting to use the truck as his murderous operandi, but the "Storm is coming" thing I kind of missed that because it was so ominous when he spoke about it, it was just some creepy shit. 
  Also in the third act, it shifts gears a bit from reality based horror to umm, maybe(?) and you need to stretch your suspension of beliefs a little further because the death scenes get a bit crazier.  For instance, Rusty smashes his truck through a police car which explodes in a fantastic ball of fire or a character watches a multi shot version of another character being killed on a cell phone.  Marvelous screen deaths but impossible.  The first two acts were so grounded and made sense but I'm guessing O'Brien wanted to go big or go home effects for the final act, which changes the tone of the film. 
  Finally, I don't actually know if this is a pro or a con but the characters were all really just one note.  On one hand, I liked this because there wasn't the stoner kid, the jock and any other stereotypical douchebags that we are forced to suffer through because the film wants to hit every market.  These were 5 friends, who worked on a car and got into trouble with Rusty Nail.  However, without getting to know them, why should we care about them dying?  With the exception of the main character, it didn't matter how or when they died or even if they lived.  I wasn't sure who Jordan's girlfriend was in some parts? You could replace any of them with each other and it wouldn't matter.  This is probably how they avoided the lulls in the film as well but it would be nice if horror director/writers developed the characters a bit more or even brought back the ironic killings or have their deaths be motivated by something other than them just being there.

  The special features, again very surprised, are pretty cool.  O'Brien does a diary of the shoot and shows how he rigged most of the death scenes and the car crashes.  If you like to see how special effects were done, then you will dig these vignettes.  Also, O'Brien shows his Pre-Vis sequences with the cars and trucks.  It's a trick he learned from Robert Rodriquez, where he uses a home video camera to shoot a extremely smaller budget of the scene to see how it works out.  He uses a 6 ft table and some toy cars and trucks and maps out his road scenes.  It's neat and they show it on a split screen demonstrating how it was worked into the film.

  Joy Ride 3 is one of the better sequel films that I've seen for a while.  This isn't going to win an Oscar but this film knows its purpose, which is to be a horror movie and to gross you out with its gore.  There is no love story, no rivalry issues among the friends and the only the darkest comedy is applicable here.  These people just want to survive this ordeal with Rusty Nail with as many appendages as they can.  Hop in, buckle up and hit the road of terror with Joy Ride 3!

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