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Film Only Review
Released : 2001
Running Time : 97minutes
Director : John Dahl
Rating : 15
Availability : from 38p (used and new) on Amazon
Roadkill aka Joy Ride is the first of two thriller films focussed around 'Rusty Nail'. The film focusses on the brothers road trip from Colorado to New Jersey where they plan on picking up Lewis' love interest Venna. The brothers play a prank on a psychotic truck driver known as Rusty Nail. He takes great offense at being messed around over a CB radio and plans to seek revenge on the brothers.
Lewis Thomas - Paul Walker
Fuller Thomas - Steve Zahn
Venna - Leelee Sobleski
Charlotte - Jessica Bowman
Rusty Nail - Matthew Kimbrough *uncredited*
Rusty Nail CB voice - Ted Levine *uncredited*
I own this film as part of a DVD boxset and also own the second film, Roadkill 2 (how original!). The plot of this film is really good and a bit different. It is set in a dessert but rather than crazy, inbred hillbillies looking to feed on unsuspecting travellers, Roadkill focusses on a deranged truck driver who we never actually get to see properly until the end of the film. It is often just a voice or shadow. His truck is enough to add fear into anyone so the combination of truck and truck driver proves to be very sinister.
The film starts off well as we discover the reason behind Lewis' sudden decision to buy a car and drive many miles to collect his love interest Venna. Unfortuantely, his older brother Fuller has gotten himself in a bit of trouble. Lewis needs to collect him from a police station and he decides to tag along on the roadtrip. This proves to be a bad idea given Fullers lack of maturity.
The setting for this film is your typical, quiet backroad through the desert with the odd gas station and motel breaking up the journey. It is a typically American film. There aren't many characters in this film but the characters that are there are well used in the film. I was quite taken by Lewis at first. I considered him a romantic guy willing to travel to collect the girl he likes whilst remaining loyal to his family buy bailing his brother out. I quite like Paul Walker as an actor. Fuller on the other hand, was completely different. He had a full on attitude, quite cheeky and after convincing his brother to pretend to be a girl over the CB radio, rather careless and childish. Both guys are regular guys on a road trip. I cannot help but mention that Paul Walker is super hot in this film - drool!
Venna is a likeable character. Totally unaware of the issues the brothers have encountered on their journey but willing to go along with whatever was asked of her to protect her friend. I found the idea of Rusty Nail to be well executed. Whilst we never get to actually see him in full until the end, I was able to work up an image in my head of how we would look simply from his husky, rather creepy voice and actions. The voicetone was perfect given his role as the psychotic killer. Rusty Nail had the ability to taunt the characters without revealing too much of himself which I thought took a lot of skill and direction.
The film progresses well and there is a good amount of suspense scenes throughout. The brothers first stop off at a motel and arrange a meeting with Rusty Nail as their alter ego 'Candy Cane'. As you would expect, they do not reveal their true identies and another guest pays the price for this prank. This prank comes back to bite them in the rear end as Rusty Nail seeks revenge for being humiliated. Cue a lot of high speed car chases, stalkerish phone calls and kidnaps. Rusty Nail is keen to humiliate the brothers just as he was. This is quite amusing in one particular scene.
In terms of blood and gore, Roadkill isn't really too bad. It certainly isn't going to have you cringing and is more of a suspense film than a bloody film. I found that whilst there was quite a lot of threats and scares early on in the film, the real action was saved for the last 45 minutes or so. Prior to this, Lewis, Fuller and Venna were having some fun and generally enjoying the road trip. I found the ending of Roadkill to be really good as there was a lot going on involving all three of the main characters. It ended well but left room for a sequel.
I would say that Roadkill is more of a pyschological thriller than a slasher film. There is a great deal of suspense in the film and whilst I have watched it lots of times, I still don't get bored of it. I like the idea of not seeing the killer early on as it makes for a different sort of thriller and makes it more interesting in my opinion.
This isn't the best thriller film - not by a long shot but it is a really good film in my opinion. The plot is good and the film is generally well acted. It is a good film to watch with friends if you want something that isn't heavy with bloody scenes. I find myself wondering what will happen next especially when there is an eerie silence building up to something happening. Although I do not agree with the behaviour of Rusty Nail, a good message is sent out that you shouldn't play such pranks on those you do not know as it may come back to haunt you.
Roadkill is just the right length given the storyline. The 15 rating is perfectly fine for this film. There is a small amount of swearing and nude scents (perfect if you are female lol) but nothing major. It is quite a timid film compared to other films in this genre.
Overall I would recommend Roadkill. It won't have you hiding behind a cushion but does offer many thrills. Roadkill 2 is even better and I highly recommend that too.
Thanks for reading :)
Love this film.
I like films such as 'Duel', 'Christine' and 'Breakdown' so this was good for me to watch.
It's about two guys on their way to pick up a girl who get a CBS radio and play a prank on a truck driver but the the truck driver soon gets wind of who done it to him and begins stalking the two guys.
They soon pick up the girl and she also becomes a target with them.
There is plenty of suspense in this and the voice of the trucker on the CBS radio is menacing.
We never really clearly what the trucker looks like which adds to the suspense.
Steve Zahn has a good personality on screen and he can be funny one moment and look terrified the next.
Paul Walker is also decent but I find that his acting is basically the same for every film.
Ted Levine steals the film with his performance and the funny thing is we don't even see this guy on screen. He managed to steal the film with HIS VOICE!
That's some talent right there!
The only problem I had with the film was it's ending. It was a bit confusing to me and once somebody explained a possible explanation, it became unrealistic.
There is nothing really deep about a film like this but if you like horror films that take place on roads then this will be right up your street.
Released in 2001, ROADKILL is a 93 minute long thriller starring Steve Zahn and Paul Walker. The film was originally released as JOY RIDE in America, but the title was changed for UK audiences as a 'joyride' over here is the description of teenagers stealing cars, which is not what the film is about. The term does not have the same connotations in the US.
Two brothers are on a road trip across America. They decide to play a prank on a truck driver using their CB radio, but the trucker doesn't take kindly to this and pursues them with the intention to do them great harm.
THE MAIN CAST
Steve Zahn plays Fuller Thomas, the brother who has just come out of prison. He is a recognizable face, although not really a star as such. I certainly cannot recall other films I have seen him in although I do, as I say, recognise his face. He is however soon to play Gus MacRae in COMANCHE MOON, a new TV miniseries based on the final LONESOME DOVE novel by Larry McMurtry, which is one of my favourite novel series, so it will be interesting to see him in that role.
Paul Walker plays the other brother, Lewis Thomas, who Fuller goads into upsetting the truck driver. Walker is best known for his role as Brian O'Connor in the FAST AND THE FURIOUS movies, of which a 4th episode is due to begin filming soon.
Leelee Sobieski plays the token girl, Venna, who Lewis is infatuated with. Sobieski most recently appeared with Nicolas Cage in the awful remake of THE WICKER MAN.
The film is directed by John Dahl, who directed RED ROCK WEST and THE LAST SEDUCTION early in his career. Although ROAD KILL is fun it is not quite on a par with these early entries in his oeuvre.
One of the writers and producers of the film is J.J. Abrams, who is more famous these days for his work on the TV shows ALIAS and LOST. It is always interesting to visit work from earlier in the careers of famous names and this is no different. I can't say that I noticed any themes from this film recurring in any of his more recent work. Abrams has been tasked with making the new STAR TREK movie, taking us back to the early days of Kirk and Spock, and this should be released in cinemas in approximately 12 months time. Abrams was recently named by the US magazine ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY as the 29th Smartest Person in Hollywood.
WHAT IS GOOD ABOUT THE FILM?
The plot is derivative but enjoyable - if you have ever seen the Steven Spielberg film DUEL then you should have no pressing need to see ROADKILL. The cast are nothing special but handle their parts adequately. The music is not too intrusive and adds to the tension in the appropriate places. Generally this is a good film to kill an hour and a half with a curry and a beer on a Friday night.
ROADKILL was nominated as Best Action/Adventure/Thriller Film in the 2002 Saturn Awards (awarded by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films, USA). However it did not win, with the award instead being awarded to Christopher Nolan's excellent film MEMENTO.
ROAD KILL is available on DVD from Fox, and Amazon currently have it available for less than £5. Features include 3 commentaries - one by the director, one by the writers, and a 3rd by cast members Steve Zahn and Leelee Sobieski. The alternate endings and deleted scene are particularly interesting to watch.
Directed by John Dahl
Written by Clay Tarver & J.J. Abrams
Produced by J.J. Abrams (amongst others)
Music by Marco Beltrami
Starring Steve Zahn, Paul Walker, Leelee Sobieski
Rented this film as the trailer looked good, despite the fact that it hasn?t done that well on reviews. All in all, both my partner and I enjoyed this film even though we both have different tastes in films. The plot covers two brothers, Fuller (Steve Zahn) and Lewis (Paul Walker ? the fast and the furious) who whilst on a long distance car trip buy a CB radio and decide to play a prank on a trucker. However when the prank goes wrong they discover the trucker has found out who they are and is stalking them on their journey. Their journey takes a turn for the worse when they pick up Lewis?s love interest Venna (Leelee Sobiesky ? deep impact) when the trucker steps up a gear and starts terrorising all three of them more aggressively. After a slightly slow start where the ?prank? is played this film builds up to a good level of tension and maintains it throughout the film, and unlike many films you can?t always predict what will happen next, keeping you on the edge of the seat and really engrossed in the film. There is some gore in this film, but the films main emphasis is psychological and the unexpected twists that it has. The only real down side is that after all the effort that has been made to keep you engrossed in the film, the ending was too predictable so the writers let themselves down here. However I?m not going to say too much about the film, as this really is a film everyone should watch, and I?ve no interest in spoiling a minute of it for any of you. So if your into action, horror, thriller or mysteries, you will probably also enjoy this film as much as us, so rent or buy it ASAP!! (do a sendit.com search as you can currently get is for £4.99) NB ? if you decide to do a MIDB search for this film, you will have to look for it under its American name ? Joy Ride.
Director John Dahl has made more ingenious thrillers than Roadkill, but few with quite its sense of terrible consequences arising from a minor prank. On a road trip, jailbird Fuller (Steve Zahn) persuades his younger, student brother Lewis (Paul Walker) to pretend to be a girl on a CB radio; they set a pushy trucker up with a date with an obnoxious guest at the motel where they stay for the night. The results are far from funny--the guest ends up dead and they find themselves being chased for a while by a large sinister truck. And then, when they have picked up Veena (Leelee Sobieski), the girl with whom Lewis is in love, it all gets worse, much worse. Dahl has picked up on one of the most sinister aspects of hostage situations, which is that quite minor concessions in negotiation can often be more meaningful than they seem. If the film has a weakness it is that the irresponsibility of the two young men is eminently plausible and not especially sympathetic, and the trucker, rather like the faceless driver in Steven Spielberg's Duel, is never more than a monstrous force of nature. Along the way, though, Roadkill delivers an appropriate number of thrills and sudden reversals, which all makes for an exciting journey into terror. On the DVD: Roadkill on disc has commentaries by the director, by the writers and by stars Steve Zahn and Leelee Sobieski; it also has a fascinating wealth of alternate endings including one in which the whole third act of the movie goes in a radically different direction. It has a widescreen anamorphic visual ratio 2.35:1 and vibrant Dolby 5.1 sound that pumps up the tension in some crucial scenes. --Roz Kaveney