Rest Stop: Don't Look Back (2008) - Uncut

Genre(s): Horror / Thriller
Warner Brothers || Unrated - 89 minutes - $24.98 || September 30, 2008
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2008-10-02


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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: Shawn Papazian
Writer(s): John Shiban (written by)
Cast: Richard Tillman, Jessie Ward, Graham Norris, Joey Mendicino, Julie Mond


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Feature Commentary
  • Doomed to Repeat: The Mythology of Rest Stop
  • Alternate Ending
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Trailer


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.40)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Rest Stop: Donít Look Back is the sequel to the 2006 direct-to-DVD horror film about a maniac pickup driver who abducts people and then tortures them in Saw fashion. In Donít Look Back, Tom Hilts (Tillman), recently home from Iraq, girlfriend Marilyn (Ward) and best friend Jared (Norris) head out West to find Tomís brother and his girlfriend Nicole who went missing a year earlier (i.e. in the first movie). They soon encounter the maniac driver and his yellow pickup truck in the middle of nowhere (what are the odds?).

Rest Stop 2 is a ridiculous film that goes from a laughably awful prologue where we get the maniac driverís origins, to just plain dumb as it stumbles along through its 89-minute running time. I donít fault the movie for ripping off Saw or The Hills Have Eyes or Joy Ride or The Hitcher, no; I fault it for not having one iota of originality. You have cardboard characters that you could care less what happens and add in a titillating, but meaningless sex scene, and you have a story that just, well, ďborrowsĒ from other horror films without providing something the film can call its own.

Like in many low-budget and direct-to-video horror movies, Rest Stop 2 features an unknown cast with, at best, moderate talent. Sure, the two leads look fantastic together, so good looking, they almost seem to come out of a GAP commercial. But outside of some solid enough facial and body chemistry (nothing more) neither makes an impact on the film as a whole nor could save a story in dire need of major rewrites or scrapping altogether. They certainly could have done a better job casting the two leads.

Speaking of the writing, the movie was written (and produced) by John Shiban, who also wrote and directed the original Rest Stop. I always like it when a writer comes back to continue on what they started or else you could get a disastrous result (see: Scream 2 / Scream 3)... well, at least it seems this sequel is on par with the original.

As I said, for some reason Shiban chose not to take the directorís chair with Shawn Papazian, who served as second unit director on the original, and the results are inconclusive. I donít know if Papazian was going for a gritty, Saw-like style or if it was just cheap film mixed with desert settings (more on that in the video section).

Rest Stop: Donít Look Back is merely Warner Brothers own little Saw franchise that has little originality with the same amount of no-namers you could care less about. This is a movie that meanders from beginning to end with no real direction other than a flimsy premise about a maniac driver. And if the film could offer a solid cast and/or fantastic make-up effects, Iíd be all for a thin plot, but as it stands the movie is nothing more than a waste of time.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

The DVD comes with a slip cover and the sides seem to match the original Rest Stop pretty well.

The disc contains a feature commentary with writer/producer John Shiban and director Shawn Papazian in a subdued but informative track. Doomed to Repeat: The Mythology of Rest Stop (12:20) is a short featurette on where the filmmakersí wanted to take the story and move forward rather than rehash the original. Four deleted scenes (10:28) and an alternate ending (0:55) round things out. The bulk of the deleted footage just adds more ďdepthĒ to the family while the ending makes it clear about the outcome of one character whereas in the feature, itís left more ambiguous.

There are also a selection of trailers for other Raw Feed movies including Rest Stop and Rest Stop: Donít Look Back.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

The movie is presented in anamorphic widescreen with a 2.40 AR. Some scenes are oversaturated (on purpose), but a good portion also contains a ton of grain and plenty of dust marks due to what I assume is cheap film.

The DVD includes a standard Dolby Digital 5.1 track that gets the job done. Dialogue is clear and some ambient noise coming through the side and back speakers.



.::OVERALL::.

Rest Stop: Donít Look Back (donít worry, I wonít) isnít the worst movies Iíve seen this year (see: The Love Guru), but even compared to other direct-to-DVD horror titles, it isnít very good. The entire concept has been done before and thereís little else to distinguish it from other copycats. The DVD has some decent enough features, but there isnít enough there to warrant a purchase as they are only good for one-time viewing.