Joy Ride (2001) - Rotten Tomatoes

Joy Ride (2001)

Joy Ride (2001)

Joy Ride



Critic Consensus: A well-constructed B-movie thriller, Joy Ride keeps up the necessary level of tension and chills. Critics also liked Zahn's performance as the goofball older brother.

Movie Info

After forays into film noir, thrillers, dramas, and even documentaries, director John Dahl tries the teen horror genre on for size. Paul Walker stars as Lewis Thomas, a college freshman embarking on a cross-country road trip during summer break to pick up his girlfriend Venna (Leelee Sobieski). Along for the ride is Lewis' brother Fuller (Steve Zahn), a practical joker who uses the car's CB radio to play a cruel prank on a lonely trucker known only by the handle Rusty Nail. The victim of Fuller's gag turns out to be a psychotic murderer and soon the brothers are being pursued by the relentless stalker, who gets his revenge in gruesome fashion. Joy Ride, which co-stars Matthew Kimbrough, was produced under the working title "Squelch." ~ Karl Williams, Rovimore
Rating: R (for violence/terror and language)
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Action & Adventure
Directed By:
Written By: Clay Tarver, J.J. Abrams
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 12, 2002
Box Office: $21.3M
20th Century Fox - Official Site


Steve Zahn
as Fuller
Jessica Bowman
as Charlotte
Brian Leckner
as Off. Keeney
Kenneth White
as Ronald Ellinghouse
Jim Beaver
as Sheriff Ritter
Ted Levine
as Rusty Nail
Stuart Stone
as Danny, Lewis's Room...
Basil Wallace
as Car Salesman
Mary Wickliffe
as Salt Lake City Polic...
McKenzie Satterthwai...
as Asst. Salt Lake City...
Dell Yount
as Gas Station Mechanic
Jose Luis Cortes
as Night Manager
Michael McCleery
as Officer Akins
Rachel Singer
as Gas Station Manager
Satch Huizenga
as Ice Truck Man
Terry Leonard
as Bartender
James McDonald
as Local in Nebraska Ba...
Gwenda Deacon
as Truck Stop Waitress
Robert Winley
as Truck Stop Manager
Ali Gage
as Waitress
Jack Moore
as Hotwire Consultant
Hugh Dane
as Man at Door
Lee Stepp
as Traveling Salesman
Huey Redwine
as Policeman No. 1
John Maynard
as Policeman No. 2
Peter Weireter
as Policeman No. 3
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Joy Ride

Critic Reviews for Joy Ride

All Critics (135) | Top Critics (34)

If you're looking to have your nerves fried and your pulse pounded, this is your ticket to ride.

October 29, 2001
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

Dahl works the audience like the dial of a car radio, testing out all manner of squeals and static and all-out, high-pitched terror.

Full Review… | October 12, 2001
Top Critic

It's a dumb movie.

Full Review… | July 6, 2010
Cinema Crazed

...boasts a number of genuinely exhilarating sequences and set-pieces.

Full Review… | October 8, 2008
Reel Film Reviews

Will convince you that you'd be better off taking the train.

Full Review… | April 8, 2003

America's dark and lonely back roads are the prime location for stories about relentless, psychotic stalkers preying on the youth.

Full Review… | March 19, 2003

Audience Reviews for Joy Ride


All college student Lewis wants to do for his summer break is travel cross country to pick up his girlfriend Venna. In tow is his recently paroled practical joke pulling brother Fuller. Their trip goes from banal to scary when a prank of Fuller's using a CB radio on a lonely trucker known as Rusty Nail goes horribly awry in this tense thriller heavily inspired by Spielberg's masterpiece Duel.

Admittedly, Fuller's prank is cruel, but when it turns out that Rusty is a psychopath that can't take a joke, the boys find themselves in a real world of trouble. You kinda pity them, and feel for them, even if Fuller does deserve to get some sort of comeuppance.

One of the best parts of the film, arguably, is the use of Ted Levine as the voice of Rusty Nail. His delivery and demeanor are creepy and really make your skin crawl, and really help elevate this basic, semi-derivative material into a pretty solid and intense thriller.

Paul Walker is decent as Lewis, and Steve Zahn is fine as Fuller. As Venna, we get Leelee Sobieski, who, to me at least, is a bit of a treat, even if she probably looks at this movie as just a paycheck. But as decent as they are, none of them steal the show quite like Levine does, and he's just using his voice, so that says something.

The film is a bit out there, and not the most realistic, but if you want a movie that delivers the thrills (as well as some visceral stuff), then yeah, give this a look. It's a lot better than it seems it should be.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer


This movie is both trilling and fun at the same time, mixing laughs, spooky moments, and just plain cheesiness in almost every scene. Paul Walker and Steve Zahn play great brothers together, and their chemistry is very believable. Sure, the premise is simple, and one thing just kind of leads to another, seeing as something had to happen in order for the next to follow. I found myself laughing even in the thrilling moments, but that was okay, because the character were so zany that it was okay to chuckle. Some moments will make you role your eyes, and the script may be predictable for the most part, but J.J. Abrams clearly had his hand in the script, because the few twists really do work. The ending left me disappointed, but it's still a fun movie!

KJ Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

Like a bigger, dumber version of Spielberg's "Duel" with excellent production values.

Stephen M

Super Reviewer

Joy Ride Quotes

– Submitted by Matthew B (17 months ago)
– Submitted by John P (24 months ago)
– Submitted by John P (24 months ago)
– Submitted by Kayla P (3 years ago)

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