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The Dream Machine --- The Imagination of the World Wide Web
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Two brothers take off on a cross-country road trip to bring home a pretty college friend. The jokes end when a prank backfires and they find themselves stalked by a vengeful trucker. It becomes clear that the psychopath won't give up his chase until somebody pays with his life. The plot is simple and doesn't try to complicate anything. The screenplay is surprisingly decent. This becomes quite thrilling once it starts rolling. This film delivers with both the thrills and some laughs. As the two brothers begin to prank the trucker, some rather funny jokes are spread throughout. However, the film continues to get darker and more serious from there on. Joy Ride avoids many of the clichés that some movies in this genre fall victim to. The audience genuinely cares what happens to the three leads since all three of them are likable characters. There's no denying that this film is creepy and uses every advantage wisely.
The three leads are likable partly due to the actors. Paul Walker, Steve Zahn, and Leelee Sobieski all connect well. These performances won't leave anyone's jaw on the ground, but it may surprise some who were expecting mediocre acting. All three of the actors are able to perform as their characters and easily gain the affection of the audience. There aren't any award winners here, but they certainly get the job done.
What's a good horror/thriller without a good atmosphere? Joy Ride doesn't hold back in the visual department. The cinematography is decent and definitely gives off the feel of the film well. The atmosphere becomes more eerie as the film changes mood from some comedy to a serious horror/thriller. There aren't many huge FX sequences, but the film does a good job of leaving the audience unsettled and on the edge of its seats.
If you're looking for a thrilling film that doesn't spend time trying to explain everything, then look no further. It's a shame that this style of film isn't too easy to come by in modern films. No matter what the genre, characters that the audience like do matter. Otherwise, there's nothing to keep you on the edge of your seat if there's no connection between the characters and the audience. Joy Ride is a film that is sure to capture its viewers from opening to ending credits.