Joy Ride: Postcards From A Thriller’s Edge

joy_rideJoy Ride (2001)

Genre: Thriller | Horror
Country: US
Director: John Dahl
Stars: Paul Walker, Steve Zahn, Leelee Sobieski

I have always been captivated by travel. The whine and hum of spinning tires, like a siren’s song the open road seduces me to dance upon her weathered blacktop. Alone or with friends, for a weekend or two weeks, there is nothing like the adventure and promise of a road trip. Even my taste in literature tends to center around tales of travel. Jack Kerouac’s classic, On the Road, and Will Ferguson’s Hitching Rides with Buddha are two of my favorite books. So it’s no surprise that a movie such as Joy Ride has found its way into my list of offerings.

From the gifted mind of J. J. Abrams, Joy Ride tells the tale of three young adults on a cross country trip and their unexpected encounter with a psycho trucker, hell-bent on causing mayhem. Sound like it’s been done before? Yup, Spielberg covered this in 1971 with Duel. Think it might be predictable? Of course it is. But that doesn’t make it any less fun. We don’t watch these kinds of movies for their Oscar worthiness. We watch them for their cheap thrills and a good time. Which means this is the cinematic equivalent of a hooker.

I adore this movie (BTW if you’re looking for it in the UK it will be under the title Road Kill, since apparently joy ride means something a bit different across the pond). Steve Zahn is hilarious as Fuller, the troubled older brother to Paul Walker’s Lewis. Rusty Nail (the terrifying trucker) is voiced by Ted Levine, most famous for his role as Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs. “It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again”. Yup, that guy. And every time I watch this film, I always wonder why Venna (Leelee Sobieski) refuses to wear a bra.

Without much more needed to be said about the movie, and seeing as how it is about travel, I present the remainder of this review in the form of hypothetical postcards from the trio’s trip. They’re best enjoyed with pink champagne.

There shouldn’t be any spoilers in these. I haven’t included any information beyond what you could get from watching the trailer.




Found scribbled on a motel napkin at the Covered Wagon Motel, room 18, Medford, Nebraska:



8 responses to “Joy Ride: Postcards From A Thriller’s Edge

  1. I’ve always been fond of this movie, even though I know intellectually it’s kind of a crap-heap. It was not known to me prior to reading this that it was written by J.J. Abrams, but after hearing that it didn’t surprise me. He has a definite way with popcorn flicks.

    Between liking Steve Zahn as a comedic actor and Leelee Sobieski for that sort of quiet, elfin beauty and charm, it would have had to try pretty hard to make me not like it.

  2. Nice review! I’ve never seen this film, but always wanted to. I am a big Paul Walker fan. He wasnt the best actor but he really had underrated screen presence. And Zahn should be working more. Never gets his due.

    I know i’ll like it when I see it.

  3. HA HA!! Candy Cane…..

    “And every time I watch this film, I always wonder why Venna (Leelee Sobieski) refuses to wear a bra.” No complaints here.

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s