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STUDIO: Warner Home Video
RUNNING TIME: 85 Minutes
• Alternate endings
• Photos from the set
• Video diary of the characters
It’s like Joy Ride but in a dirty rest stop bathroom and with ghosts!
Jaime Alexander, Nick Orefice and Joseph “Joey” Lawrence.
Jess and Nicole are young and in love. They’re also quite stupid and leave their friends and family behind to fulfill their dreams in glorious Los Angeles. Their dreams don’t take very long to get shattered, as Jess’ cousin refuses to house them and they end up just driving around. Nicole’s bladder forces them to pull over at a derelict rest stop in the middle of no where. After Nicole finishes her business, she exits the bathroom to find that both Jess and the car have vanished.
Jess has been kidnapped by an evil man in a dingy yellow pick-up truck, who has made a habit of capturing and torturing passing travelers for decades. The messages left scrawled on the bathroom stalls in the rest stop serve as a historical record of his escapades and Nicole is only the latest victim of his little game.
If you’re not responsible enough to use the glory hole for its designated purpose then don’t use it at all.
The promotional materials for Rest Stop liken it to critically acclaimed thrillers like Spoorloos aka The Vanishing and for the first half hour it certainly looks promising. The concept of the film is a little more pedestrian, similar to Joy Ride, in that it doesn’t focus on the horror of simply seeing someone you love vanish but having to deal with a menacing figure out to murder you.
As solid as the film’s foundation is, it isn’t long before it starts coming off the rails. Rather than focusing on the “it could happen to you” type of horror that stays terrifying but simultaneously grounded in reality, Rest Stop quickly becomes a bizarre ghost story filled with supernatural visions and indestructible villains.
The supernatural element of the film makes it seem far too silly to ever be actually scary. Nicole frequently encounters people she believes are alive, but often disappear and leave no trace behind. So not only is she being stalked by a psycho in a dirty truck who tortures people with power tools, but his victims are left behind as ghosts. Be like Hostel or be like The Sixth Sense, but trying to be like both results in a film that’s about as silly as a typical episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark?
Humans are disgusting.
Since the film seems so dead set on exploiting the spooky side of its concept, you’d think it would at least do something surprising. The so-called twists in the film are so utterly predictable that the only surprise is that they wait so long to unveil themselves.
The attempts to cram even more bizarre characters into the story are ham-fisted and unnecessary, such as a roving family of Bible-thumpers that give Nicole a ride in their RV. They show up, act bizarre and then throw her out. It may add nothing to the film, but it sure does pad the running time.
Rest Stop starts out with plenty of potential to be a gripping and tight thriller, but quickly decides it isn’t worth the effort and becomes a tepid slasher flick. It’s nothing horror fans haven’t seen before, although it may be worth a quick look if you’ve ever really desired to see Joey Lawrence mutilated.
This is where Freddy would make a joke about being tongue tied or something.
As bad as the ending used in the film is, it seems masterful compared to the alternate endings included in the extra features. One of them is so cheap and lame that it would feel right at home in an episode of Tales from the Darkside.
The rest of the features are all “in character” deals, such as a video blog from the deformed son from the RV. It’s entertaining and at the very least makes the characters more important to the story than the feature does.
In my opinionation, the sun is gonna surely shine.
The other feature is a series of snapshots from the villain’s torture bus, which is basically an excuse to show off the gore effects obscured in the feature film by super fast cuts. If you spent all that money on effects, you might as well show them off in the extras section.