It’s an age old story. Boy (Lewis) has hots for girl (Venna (I would hate my parents if that was my name)), finds out girl has broken up with boyfriend, trades in his plane ticket for a car so he can drive across the country with her, and gets detoured to bail his repeat offender brother (Fuller) out of jail (cuz every family has to have a black sheep).
After bailing said brother out of jail, Lewis is back on the road with Fuller in tow, and headed for Colorado and Venna. After some small talk causes Lewis to have a small tantrum the stop at a truck stop and while Lewis is on the phone updating Venna on their status Fuller takes it upon himself to have a CB radio installed (that is a damn thoughtful brother if I do say so myself).
Back on the road Fuller shows Lewis how road trips are done CB style. Lewis is easily amused (but then again, who isn’t on a road trip?) by his brothers antics, although he’s not as amused by his handle – Mama’s Boy.
A trucker (Rusty Nail) with a very distinct voice and some strange ramblings catches Fuller’s attention who talks Lewis into pretending he’s a girl so they can fuck with the guy. Lewis reluctantly agrees (he apparently has a modicum of common sense), and they tempt Rusty Nail with “Candy Cane” – a 5’10”, dirty blond, blue eyed, soft skinned woman. After engaging in the beginnings of some awkward CB radio sex they lose the signal and continue on their way having a good laugh.
That night they arrive at a cheap, seedy motel and while Fuller is checking them in Rusty Nail appears on their CB again. Lewis doesn’t want to reply to him, but Fuller, having had a run in with a jerk in the motel office, wants to take the prank to the next level and convinces Lewis (who apparently has a problem caving to peer pressure – pussy!) to ask Rusty Nail to meet “her” at the hotel in room 17 – the room that the asshole Fuller had a run in with is staying in – and to bring some pink champagne.
Rusty Nail shows up later that night and what started out as a cruel prank turns into the brothers’ worst nightmare when they’re informed the next morning that the occupant of room 17 was severely beaten and is lying a coma in the hospital.
The brothers are informed to vacate the state of Wyoming immediately and they are all too happy to be on their way. Unfortunately Rusty Nail has figured out who Black Sheep and Candy Cane are and he demands an apology, which Fuller refuses to give (Fuller is obviously not the intelligent sort) and after a terrifying run in with the trucker they apologize and he apparently leaves. (Fun fact – the gas station that they stop at, after they pull off the highway in this scene, I have been to…and it’s just as creepy as it looks in the film.)
Back on the road, and Rusty Nail free (kind of sounds like a drink you’d get a bad hangover from), they make it to Colorado where Venna is eagerly awaiting their arrival. In no time they are on their way again and after stopping at a bar in Nebraska they check into a hotel for the night.
Lewis is passed out drunk on the bed (lightweight) while Fuller is over in Venna’s room (trying to seduce the girl his brother is into – douchebag) when the phone rings and awakens Lewis.
Guess who’s baaaaaaaaaaaaaaack?!?!?!
If you guessed Randy Quaid’s character from Independence Day…you’re totally fucking wrong. Why are you even reading this blog?
If you guessed Rusty Nail, however, you get a glass of pink champagne!
Lewis flees the room (yes, flees, like a big fat sissy la-la) and gets Fuller and Venna and they leave the hotel and get back on the road in a desperate attempt to rid themselves of Rusty Nail.
Unfortunately, he’s like a bad case of herpes and keeps coming back. He’s also holding Venna’s friend hostage and is going to kill her if they don’t acquiesce to his demands, so he shows the boys what it’s like to be the brunt of a joke – which is quite hilarious I might add – before kidnapping Venna.
Now it’s Rusty Nail vs. the brothers and he’s got something truly horrific planned for them. When all is said done who will be left standing?!?! OH MY GOD THE SUSPENSE IS KILLING ME!!!
Local in Nebraska Bar: [to Lewis while Fuller watches] Did you hear what I said? Look me in the face. You better shut your bitch…up.
Fuller: [shouting] Bitch, shut up! Are you mouthin’ off again? God!
When the boys have to enter the truck stop diner naked and order 12 cheeseburgers and the waitress's response.
Joy Ride is a great movie. It’s the right mix of suspense and comedy without being silly. It has some truly suspenseful moments that have you on the edge of your seat and it manages to be scary without any gore, a notion which most movies from the last decade don’t seem to grasp. Gore does not equal scary…it equals gross. And I’m not bashing gore…I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again, I’m all for gore if the story warrants it, but not all stories do, and a movie can be frightening and good without a single evisceration, decapitation, or…my least favorite…enucleation.
The direction is superb. Dahl manages to take you on a pulse pounding ride all the way to the end – something a lot of horror films fail at miserably.
The casting is also pretty great, minus Leelee Sobieski – she just manages to seem bored through the entire flick. Steve Zahn and Paul Walker are very believable as brothers and Fuller was seriously the best thing about this movie.
If you haven’t seen it I would definitely recommend this go on your “to watch” list immediately. I would even go so far as to say bump it up to the top of that list if you want a horror movie that’s fun and suspenseful.
The film was renamed 'Road Kill' in the UK, since taking a 'Joy Ride' is not the pleasant journey it is in the states, rather the name for when youths steal cars and race each other or the cops and eventually total and dump the car.