07 December 2009

The Decade List: Joy Ride (2001)

Joy Ride – dir. John Dahl

Few dumb-kids’-prank-goes-awry horror/thrillers are quite as gloriously entertaining and well-crafted as John Dahl’s Joy Ride, a film unfortunately lumped together in most people’s minds alongside far inferior genre trifles. Perhaps it has to do with lousy box office numbers and a once-“something” cast that has fallen into returning to franchises they swore they’d left behind them or, worse, Uwe Boll flicks. Joy Ride is a rare Hollywood thriller that never tries to be anything other than a solid B-movie and actually succeeds at what it’s supposed to be accomplishing. If you pay attention, it’s not hard to miss some of Dahl’s arty mise-en-scène, especially during the scene pictured above, and you’ll realize Joy Ride isn’t as dismissible of a film as might be first assumed. It’s maybe a notch below Dahl’s The Last Seduction, and for a movie starring Paul Walker and Leelee Sobieski, that’s quite the compliment.

With: Paul Walker, Steve Zahn, Leelee Sobieski, Ted Levine
Screenplay: Clay Tarver, J.J. Abrams
Music: Marco Beltrami
Cinematography: Jeff Jur
Country of Origin: USA
US Distributor: 20th Century Fox

Premiere: 9 September 2001 (Toronto International Film Festival)
US Premiere: 5 October 2001

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