Rest Stop: Don't Look Back (2008) - Uncut [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Horror / Thriller
Warner Brothers || Unrated - 89 minutes - $28.99 || September 30, 2008
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2008-10-01


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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:
    None


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.40)
  • English (Dolby TrueHD 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0), Portugyese (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Japanese, Portuguese

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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::.

Even though the DVD received a commentary track, featurettes and deleted scenes, Warner has chosen to dump all of it for the Blu-ray release.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Probably easily one of the worst hi-def transfers Iíve reviewed thus far, this Blu-ray is flooded with dust marks in nearly every shot, some major graininess (use of digital cameras maybe) and even the occasional scratches. Obviously this couldíve been planned as part of the visual style (perhaps a throwback to 1970s horror), but it did not look like it and instead was a fairly big distraction. The movie is presented in 1080p High Definition (2.4 AR).

The inclusion of a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track sounds good. Throughout much of the film, usually thereís only casual dialogue or, when maniac trucker strikes, screaming until (spoiler alert!) the end with a big finale explosion. The disc also includes a standard Dolby 5.1 track along with Spanish and Portuguese stereo. FYI: Be sure you select the TrueHD track when the movie automatically starts as it defaults on DD rather than TrueHD...



.::OVERALL::.

Rest Stop: Donít Look Back (donít worry, I wonít) isnít the worst movies Iíve seen this year (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. Make matter worse, Warner (under their Raw Feed line) fails to port over any of the extras the DVD carries which boggles my mind as to why since there should be more than enough room. With this and Otis, are they trying to drive people for the DVD?