JOY RIDE 3: ROADKILL
MOVIE: ** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5)
Ken Kirzinger as RUSY NAIL
Jesse Hutch as JORDAN WELLS
Ben Hollingsworth as MICKEY COLE
Gianpaolo Venuta as AUSTIN MOORE
Jake Manley as BOBBY Crow
Kristen Prout as JEWEL MCCAUL
Leela Savasta as ALISA ROSADO
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Directed by: Declan O’Brien
BY KEVIN CARR
I’ve been doing enough DVD and Blu-ray reviews over the years to begin to recognize the name of directors on these direct-to-video titles. That puts me in a different position where I can compare this to other movies in their filmographies, and I am now forming opinions of different filmmakers’ bodies of work in the direct-to-video market.
After all, it’s one thing for a film fan to brag about seeing all or most of Steven Spielberg’s filmography, but it’s something else entirely to proudly say that you’ve seen most or all of Roel Reiné’s filmography. (Spoiler alert: Roel Reiné is one of my favorite direct-to-video directors working today.)
Declan O’Brien, the director of “Joy Ride 3: Roadkill” has an interesting slate of movies that happen to be sequels to horror movies and thrillers. I’m not as much into O’Brien’s films as I am Reiné’s, but I have enjoyed several of his movies – like “Sharktopus,” “Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead” and “Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings.”
Unfortunately, “Joy Ride 3: Roadkill” loses some of the fun that I’ve seen in his earlier films and gets a bit too morose, as he did with “Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines.”
Don’t worry… fans of direct-to-video horror sequels will understand what I’m talking about.
“Joy Ride 3: Roadkill” continues the violent adventures of Rusty Nail (Ken Kirzinger), who first made his appearance on the original film which had a successful theatrical run. Fortunately, this is not an effects-heavy or star-driven franchise, so while the cast of this movie is virtually unrecognizable, it works for the smaller-budgeted horror movie.
The main victims of the film are a group of road racers who have fixed up a supercharged car for a big racing event. While traveling a short cut (which is a deadly decision to make in the middle of nowhere, horror movies tell us), they cross paths with Rusty Nail’s truck and become a target. Over the next hour, we see Rusty Nail kidnap, torture and murder the group, seeking revenge for their original road rage.
In essence, this “Joy Ride” has become less of a stalker film that we saw with the original and more of an offshoot of the teen slasher genre. This seems appropriate because Kirzinger has some slasher history in his blood, having played Jason Voorhees before. However, with no mask and only being shot in shadow, we lose a bit of mystery by the character. Too much of Rusty Nail is shown, making him just slightly more exposed than Wilson from “Home Improvement.” Unfortunately, Kirzinger isn’t particularly terrifying to look at, so he never quite clicks with the terror the way the obscured trucker from Spielberg’s “Duel” did.
I don’t necessarily think this movie is borrowing from other contemporary films, but it shares a lot of the same story elements with DreamWorks’ “Need for Speed” from this past spring as well as the rather awful horror video sequel “No Vacancy.”
The characters in the film are pretty rote and not terribly well-written. They’re also such jerks at the beginning of the film and make such terrible decisions later in the movie that it’s hard to muster sympathy for them when the blood starts to flow.
However, my biggest beef with this movie isn’t the production value (which is, frankly, well done) or with the cast. Instead, it’s the same problem I had with O’Brien’s fifth “Wrong Turn” movie. The film takes a punishing angle to the characters rather than a slasher movie danger. There’s a hopelessness to it with Rusty Nail seeming to always have the upper hand. With no hope for the characters, there’s no emotional investment in a horror film, and it then becomes and expensive albeit creative fake snuff film.
There is a nice assortment of special features, including the featurettes “Road Rage: The Blood, Sweat and Gears of Joy Ride 3,” “Riding Shotgun with Declan: Director’s Die-aries,” “Finding Large Marge,” lost messages from the victims and an audio commentary with O’Brien.