Director John Dahl knows his way around a thriller as few contemporary filmmakers do. He revitalized the film noir with his darkly witty films, RED ROCK WEST and THE LAST SEDUCTION. With JOY RIDE, Dahl streamlines the plot and ratchets up the tension. Two brothers, Lewis (Paul Walker) and Fuller (Steve Zahn) are driving home cross-country. Fuller bullies Lewis into using the CB radio ("Prehistoric internet," Fuller calls it) to play a mean-spirited practical joke on a trucker, and it backfires horribly. The psychotic trucker comes after them, but they get away. Foolishly thinking they're out of danger, they pick up Venna (Leelee Sobieski), the girl Lewis has been pining for, on the way home. The mysterious trucker, who they know only by his CB handle, "Rusty Nail," goes further than they could ever imagine to exact his revenge. Zahn is pitch-perfect here, capturing both Fuller's charm and his stupid recklessness. Dahl builds the suspense beautifully, creating a real sense of being out on the highway in the middle of nowhere. The script, by Clay Tarver and J.J. Abrams, brings three strong characters to life with sharp, funny dialogue, fleshing out the bare bones of the plot.
Marco Beltrami - Composer
John Dahl - Director/Screenwriter
Patrick Markey - American Producer/Second Unit Director
Jessica Bowman - Actress/"Remote"
Leelee Sobieski - American film & telelvision actress, PUBLIC ENEMIES, DEEP IM
Liliane Rudabet Gloria Elsveta Sobieski - American film & telelvision actress, PUBLIC ENEMIES, DEEP IM
Basil Wallace - Actor/"Marked For Death"
Jeffrey Jur - Director of Photography
Paul Walker - American actor, THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS
Clay Tarver - Screenwriter, JOY RIDE (2001)
Arnon Milchan - Producer
Steve Zahn - Actor
Jeffrey Abrams - Screenwriter - ARMAGEDDON; Creator of "Felicity" and "Alias"
J.J. Abrams - Screenwriter - ARMAGEDDON; Creator of "Felicity" and "Alias"
"...Sobieski is lovely and self-reliant as the love interest..." - 09/01/2001 Film Comment, p.77
"...[A] hot-wired, white-knuckle thriller....Walker registers a personable impression here and fully convinces....Sobieski once again demonstrates her canny instincts for acting naturally and persuasively..." - 09/10/2001 Variety, p.58
"...[Zahn is] likable as the fun-loving screw-up....[Sobieski] reveals an interesting toughness..." - 10/01/2001 Box Office, p.60
"...JOY RIDE is stylized and referential without being arch or secondhand....It's also surprisingly funny..." - 10/05/2001 New York Times, p.E23
"...This is one of the smartest, most enjoyable youngsters-stalked-by-lunatic thrillers in years....[It] also scores big by delivering laughs..." - 05/01/2002 Total Film, p.98
"...Dahl's neo-noir sensibilities lend a stylish sheen to this pulpy suspense thriller..." - 04/03/2003 Sight and Sound, p.61