Yes it may be full of plot holes and inconsistencies galore, nevertheless John Dahl has created a visceral and above all great fun road thriller in “Joy Ride”. This is not a horror film, its purely a suspense/chase movie with all the trappings.
While it doesn’t have much of a story (something like “Breakdown” had a better plot and twists),?it makes a great use of action and above all atmosphere. Dahl lets the scenes play out at a natural pace and doesn’t get too theatrical – aside from one bit where one truck hits another towards the start, the rest of the film’s action has a gritty realism to it.
The actors are pretty good across the board, Sobieski does a better job than usual (as she’s quieter than usual) whilst the likeable Zahn and Walker are very easy to sympathise with, and to all you ladies (and some gents) who want to know – Paul Walker does show off his ass in this in one of the film’s funniest sequences (that’s another great thing, the humour is clever and well-timed).
The cinematography is excellent – despite having very barren road settings it makes great use of light and color,?whilst the script manages to get our heroes in sequences from a chase through corn, to a hotel room stand-off in a way that’s?reasonable enough for this type of genre. Probably the best film of this style since “Final Destination” (better actually). Great dumb fun.