Joy Ride 3 (2014) **
D: Declan O'Brien
C: Jesse Hutch, Ken Kirzinger, Ben Hollingsworth, Gianpaolo Venuta, Jake Manley, J. Adam Brown, Sara Mitich, Kirsten Prout, Dean Armstrong
Plot Synopsis: A group of hotheaded street racers are on their way to the Road Rally 1000. As they drive through a desolate shortcut on the way to the race, a man starts tracking, teasing and torturing them until the end of the road.
Review: In the opening scenes of Joy Ride 3, a couple is chained to the exterior of a moving freight truck and forced to hold onto dear life. The female half of this couple is a coke addict and within plain view is a bag filled with coke that's taped to the window of the truck. In a clever little twist, the couple has to work together in order to survive. If one of them lets go or slips from the truck, both of them will die by being dragged underneath. Since this couple got into this mess together, will they be able to work together to escape their predicament or will the temptation of free cocaine cause there demise.
It's a neat idea for an opening sequence, yet I never felt involved in what was happening. The appearance of this couple, that are chained to this truck, is arbitrary. We're not supposed to care one way or another as to what happens to them. The main goal of this scene is to introduce us to the driver of this truck, a guy by the name of Rusty Nail, who has token it upon himself to create elaborate scenarios in order to punish those that did him wrong.
This leads us to the film's main plot involving a group of racers who look like they didn't make the cut during auditions for The Fast and the Furious. They cross paths with Rusty Nail, by cutting him off, while driving down an isolated stretch of highway. So now, it's time for Rusty Nail to kick things into high gear, so that he can execute his revenge.
The cast is left to scream, cry and argue with one another as they try to figure out how to escape this nightmarish scenario. The opening scenes of the film already paint this picture that Rusty Nail will take great care to ensure that his plans for murderous revenge are followed through. So all that's left is to watch as Rusty chases the cast either by car or on foot or through some kind of manipulation.
This whole scenario was enough to occupy my time, but nothing more. What I mean by that, is that Joy Ride 3 is the type of film that I wouldn't give a second thought to after writing this review, but in the midst of viewing it, I found it watchable. It's like eating a plate of bland food. I wouldn't spit it out, but there's nothing appetizing about it either.
This type of film could have, at least, been elevated with an interesting villain, but Rusty is the type of character who's a voice on a radio or someone that hides in the shadows. The film never allows us to see what emotional rationale Rusty has applied in determining why he gets to kill wrongdoers when we all know that killing is wrong in of itself.
Does Rusty see himself as the type of person who is ridding the world of what's wrong? Does he simply do it for sport? Or is there some other reason. Since the protagonists are stock characters for Rusty's mayhem, a more interesting film would have followed Rusty as he sets up these various ploys and seeing Rusty sweat it out as he tries to get the pieces to fall into place.
When it comes to making a horror film (or any film for that matter), you don't necessarily have to root for the characters, you just have to be interested and engaged in what they're doing. Which leads me to another question. How can we truly be interested in the protagonists since there only purpose is to fall into Rusty's various traps? Joy Ride 3 is guilty of taking the most interesting character, Rusty Nail, and placing him in the background. [R] 96 mins.
AKA: Joy Ride 3: Roadkill
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