John Dahl hasn’t made films for awhile. He is best known for the noir thrillers Red Rock West (1993) and The Last Seduction (1994). Dahl says he wants to make films about darkness laced with humour whilst capturing the American landscape. Joy Ride does traverse part of the American landscape, Interstate 80 in northern Nevada, but there isn’t much joy. This film is unashamedly a creepy B-Grade teen thriller.
Paul Walker, last seen toying with fast cars in The Fast And The Furious, this time takes a road trip with his ex-con brother brilliantly played in oddball style by Steve Zahn (Happy, Texas). Remember CB radios? Well, CBs are somehow retro cool in Joy Ride.
There is nothing particularly original in Joy Ride and in some ways it is like a cross between Duel and I Know What You Did Last Summer. It is also fairly unbelievable with lots of holes and coincidences. It does have some funny moments and it is quite violent. Pure escapist fare.