Riding the Bullet (2004)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

A young man who has flirted with death is forced to come to terms with mortality in this tale of terror based on a story by Stephen King. Alan Parker (Jonathan Jackson) is a college student studying art at the University of Maine in 1969. Cursed with an over-active imagination, Alan constantly obsesses over the worst outcome of any situation, and when he begins to suspect his girlfriend, Jessica (Erika Christensen), is thinking of leaving him, it drives him to the brink of suicide. Shortly after … More

Rating: R (adult situations/language, nudity, violence)
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Horror
Directed By:
Written By: Mick Garris
In Theaters:
On DVD: Apr 19, 2005
Box Office: $0.1M
LionsGate Entertainment - Official Site

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as Alan Parker

as George Staub

as Jean Parker

as Jessica Hadley

as Julian Parker

as Ferris

as Adolescent Alan

as Apple Man

as Mature Alan

as Hector Passmore

as Archie Howard

as Mr. Clarkson

as Grim Reaper

as Orderly

as Mrs. Janey McCurdy
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Critic Reviews for Riding the Bullet

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (8)

A ponderous, incoherent horror mishmash that turns King's short story into utter nonsense.

Full Review… | October 21, 2004
Top Critic

The movie is so glum and flat-footed there's no reason to care.

Full Review… | October 20, 2004
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Both the anticipation factor and writer-director Mick Garris' slick adaptation fail to live up to the old hype.

October 19, 2004
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

A better name for the film would be Taking the Bullet, because that's what sitting through this dopey, pretentious mess feels like.

Full Review… | October 14, 2004
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

It's a navel-gazing meditation on death smothered under excess and ham-handed direction, better suited for late-night cable.

Full Review… | October 14, 2004
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic

The ending of which, both on the page and, now, on the screen, lands with an overly elegiac thud. Still, the journey is often fine.

Full Review… | October 14, 2004
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Riding the Bullet

Riding the Bullet was Stephen Kings "depressed phase" work I assume. lol

Wahida K

Super Reviewer

I liked this Stephen King adaptation of his short story taken from 'Everything's Eventual', the author's most recent collection. Mick Garris ('The Stand', 'The Shining (TV)') has not strayed too far from the path with this macabre tale of a hitchhiker who is offered rides from a handful of weird and wonderful characters one Halloween night.

The year is 1969 and Alan Parker (Jonathan Jackson) learns that his mother (Barbara Hershey) is dying of cancer, so instead of going to see Lennon and McCartney, the troubled teenager is forced to hitchhike back to his hometown. He is eventually offered a ride by a young man with a sinister secret. Parker is then forced to confront all the demons from his past if he is to survive what could be the last ride of his life.

Like the original story, the film has all the makings of a campfire tale. There are lonely stretches of highway flanked by tall pine trees - roads that are interspersed with graveyards and other dark places one shouldn't venture into after the sun sets. There are carnivals and rollercoasters. There are plenty of laughs as well as scenes that will chill your soul to the bone. Even Death himself makes an appearance.

Terrifyingly entertaining, 'Riding the Bullet' will also make you question what really is important in life.

Also stars David Arquette and Cliff Robertson.

Cassandra Maples

Super Reviewer

Adapting Stephen King's internet released novel shows that anything King will be adapted. Riding the Bullet is a bit like The Dead Zone, in that it has a very episodic narrative. Jackson goes hitchhikes from car to car, with each driver being weird and creepy. Each driver also makes Jackson confront a part of himself. It's a repetitive formula that gets tiresome. It also has the last driver being David Arquette who goes a bit too crazy and borders on comical. Robertson is the best, he's slightly peculiar and unsettling. It's the only real time that the enclosed space and lack of real escape becomes scary. Decent enough, but should have been shorter.

Luke Baldock

Super Reviewer

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