Monday, June 15, 2015

Film Review: Joy Ride 3 (2014)

Joy Ride 3: Road Kill (Review)
United States/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...a one-trick pony... really lacking in suspense."

A group of racers are tormented by notorious trucker Rusty Nail (Ken Kirzinger) after they rudely cut him off...

Joy Ride 3 is a very simple film. The story follows this group of racers as they head to Canada on Highway 17. While doing so, they cut off a trucker — that trucker being Rusty Nail. Rusty doesn't take too kindly to their rude and dangerous driving and sets out for payback. The rest of the story follows Rusty as he somehow manages to pick off each person in the group practically one-by-one. There really isn't much going on in this plot — at all. The film leads to a climax that doesn't feel right — it stops feeling like a horror film. The ending is also farfetched.

In fact, Joy Ride 3 is a film you'll have to suspend belief to even enjoy a smidgen. Why? Well, it's contrived and illogical. This is usually due to the stupid and annoying characters. Usually I'm not so blunt in targeting a character's intelligence (because I can usually tolerate and forgive a lot, I'm not an uptight reviewer), but these just aren't very bright — or likeable. In fact, every character in this film is either annoyingly unfunny or unjustifiably irate. If that's not enough, they're all one-dimensional. That's actually the reason I haven't mentioned their names — they're so generic, they're interchangeable. You'll notice these character flaws during the bad introduction. It could have been decent, but then a certain character shows a severe lack of common sense — I actually chuckled.

Joy Ride 3 isn't a complete lost cause, though. Fans of gory horror will find some gruesome, over-the-top deaths here. There's also some torture, but it's not really graphic or gratuitous. It's also paced very well. It was halfway done before I knew it! The horror also has its flaws, though. Firstly, it's a one-trick pony. Secondly, it's really lacking in suspense. If I remember correctly (hopefully it's not just nostalgia), the original Joy Ride was very suspenseful and exciting. This film solely opts for gore and torture. It could really have used more variety

The acting is hit-or-miss. Jesse Hutch leads the cast of racers as Jordan. For the most part, he's decent. Ken Kirzinger isn't necessarily bad as Rusty Nail, but he's severely lacking in the sinister charm this antagonist should have. The supporting cast is mostly mediocre. There performances are bland and they fail to deliver the scream queen (or king) shrieks — they sound insincere, which takes away from the torture scenes. The special effects are good, though. Writer and director Declan O'Brien crafts a gory slasher. Although it's lacking in suspense, it works as a serviceable slasher. The film suffers more from the bland, dumb, and annoying characters and the hollow, illogical narrative than anything else.

Overall, Joy Ride 3: Roadkill is a mediocre horror film. There are some gory, memorable death scenes and it's paced well, but it severely suffers from its terrible characters. The story has its own fair share of the shortcomings, but the root of the issue is the cast of characters. These annoying, hollow, and illogical characters in turn create a hollow and illogical plot. If you're simply looking for some gore and don't care for plot or characters, you may enjoy Road Kill. However, if you're looking for something akin to the original film, you'll also be sorely disappointed.

Score: 4/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore, sex and nudity.

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