Reviewer's Rating 4 out of 5  
Roadkill (2002)

Although it might sound like the kind of derivative thriller that's got "straight-to-video" written all over it, "Roadkill" (aka "Joy Ride" in the US) is actually far slicker and much more enjoyable than either its title or its silly premise suggests.

Fuller (Walker) and his older brother Lewis (Zahn) are driving home for the vacation. Bored by the endless stretches of highway, they buy a CB radio and start chatting to passing truckers. But when they decide to play a prank - putting on a girl's voice and pretending to be 'Candy Cane' - things begin to go wrong.

Horny truck driver 'Rusty Nail' sets up a date and is none-too-pleased when he discovers that 'Candy Cane' doesn't exist.

Pretty soon, dead bodies are following the boys all across the state, and when they pick up Fuller's friend Venna (Sobieski), things begin to get really out of hand...

Taking "Duel" and "The Hitcher" as his starting points, director John Dahl fashions "Roadkill" into a taut thriller that knows exactly which buttons to push to get a response.

There's no disguising the B-movie quality of the material, but Dahl - whose previous work includes two of the smartest thrillers of the 90s, "Red Rock West" and "The Last Seduction" - brands the proceedings with his distinctive film noir look, so that almost every scene takes place at night, illuminated only by neon or car headlights.

Combine this clever approach with three engrossing performances from Walker, Zahn, and Sobieski, and the result is a nail-biter that gives a whole new spin to the meaning of road rage. Just don't drive to the cinema.

End Credits

Director: John Dahl

Writer: JJ Abrams, Clay Tarver

Stars: Paul Walker, Steve Zahn, Leelee Sobieski, Jessica Bowman, Stuart Stone, Basil Wallace

Genre: Horror, Thriller

Length: 97 minutes

Cinema: 26 April 2002

Country: USA

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