Joy Ride 2: Dead Ahead (2008) - Unrated

Genre(s): Horror / Thriller
Fox || Unrated - 91 minutes - $26.98 || October 7, 2008
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2008-10-05


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Louis Morneau
Writer(s): Clay Tarver & J.J. Abrams (characters); James Robert Johnston & Bennett Yellin (screenplay)
Cast: Nicki Aycox, Nick Zano, Laura Jordan, Kyle Schmid, Mark Gibbon


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Joy Ride 2: The Making of Dead Ahead
  • Blood and Guts: The "Make-Up" of Horror
  • Storyboard-to-Screen Comparison


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Joy Ride 2: Dead Ahead is another needless direct-to-DVD sequel based on the 2001 semi-hit starring Paul Walker, Steve Zahn and Leelee Sobieski. This time psychotic truck driver Rusty Nail is back at his old games again going after road travelers who break into his home, flip him off and are just all around disrespectful towards him.

The premise is basically identical to the original. Young lovebirds Bobby (Zano; upcoming Final Destination 4) and Melissa (Aycox; Jeepers Creepers II) take a road trip to Vegas along with Melissa’s sister, Kayla (Jordan), and her b-friend who she met online, tattooed/lip-pierced Nik (Schmid). After their car (brace yourself) breaks down in the middle of the desert, they happen upon an apparently abandoned house where the phone doesn’t work. But what they do find is a classic car in the garage with the keys inside! They decide to “borrow” the vehicle to get to a rental office upon which the car would be returned with some cash to compensate the owner.

Unlucky for the group, it belongs to Rusty Nail (Gibbon) and he doesn’t take too kindly that his home was broken into and his car stolen. Not helping matters, Nik makes rude comments at a trucker diner which further provokes Rusty Nail to take action by kidnapping Bobby and making the others jump through hoops to get him back; including a striptease by Melissa with the sole purpose of providing the only interesting moment in the entire film...

Joy Ride 2 is one ridiculous scene (and situation) after another of inane plot points that merely rehash the original’s story, which in itself was a (albeit good) rip-off of The Hitcher. You have completely outlandish and unlikeable characters, Nik especially, that you could care less about their well being and in fact might root for their demise. A lot like Rest Stop: Don’t Look Back, the two leads are good looking and you accept they would be together; Nicki Aycox is a strong enough character to make her believable, but not much else really works overall.

This especially goes for Mark Gibbon (who?) as Rusty Nail. Writers James Robert Johnston and Bennett Yellin (Dumb and Dumber, Stuck On You) take what was a great and mysterious villain into something generic. Gibbon does a good enough job imitating the voice perfected by Ted Levine, but his physical presence was non-existent, though this was not Gibbon’s fault since Rusty Nail is simply a, well, too simple of a character.

Joy Ride 2: Dead Ahead is easily one of most unoriginal hack jobs I’ve ever seen. Obviously it was made to cash in on the name and with a relatively unknown cast; it couldn’t have cost much to make either. In the end, this movie is one inane cliché after another, so ridiculous and predictable that I see no reason to recommend it at all.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Joy Ride 2: The Making of Dead Ahead (13:47) – This featurette is your basic overview of how the film was made with some typical sound bites from the cast and crew. That said, you do get some insights into the struggles of making the film especially in the cold weather of British Columbia doubling for hot desert.

Blood and Guts: The “Make-Up” of Horror (7:16) – A feature that I’m sure horror fans will enjoy gets into how some of the make-up effects were done for each kill.

Storyboard-to-Scene Comparison (3:02) – Personally I never get much out of these and I think this is one that could’ve somehow been integrated into the making-of.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Fox only provides watermarked screeners to critics so I can’t aptly critique the video. It is presented in anamorphic widescreen, but when the watermarks come up (4 times), I did notice the picture would slide to the left before going back after the watermark disappears.

The disc includes a regular Dolby Digital 5.1 track that, for the most part, is alright but nothing that will shake the windows or do any sort of hearing damage.



.::OVERALL::.

Joy Ride 2 may entertain the 24/7 horror fans because it does have a decent amount of blood throughout, but for others looking for more suspense, you’ll only find a rehash of the original and nothing more. This is a movie that feels, sounds and looks like a direct-to-video movie, and there’s nothing wrong with that but only if the script and/or performances can rise above the inherit flaws, which in this case, it did not.