Newest Review: ... 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 ... more
A Pyschological, Road Trip Thriller!
Member Name: angelboouk
Date: 23/02/13, updated on 23/02/13 (47 review reads)
Advantages: good acting, suspense, not too much blood, pyschological
Disadvantages: I like more blood!
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 :)
Summary: the second film is better but this is good