I always fancied watching this but for a long time the second and third films were on Netflix but not the first one. I was flicking through what to watch and review on the site trying to pick something fun and came across the first film. Then I noticed it was written by JJ Abrams so it had to get watched.
Director: John Dahl
Budget: $23 million estimated
Student Lewis (played by the late Paul Walker) has massive issues with Venna he appears to be trapped in the friend zone but it also appears that both want more. They spend hours on the phone to each other and during their conversation Venna hints that she’d love to take a road trip home to clear her head, if only Lewis had a car he could come pick her up and drive her home.
Being the sap that he is Lewis trades in his plane ticket and buys a car to go pick up a girl who may or may not be as interested in him as he is in her. However after setting off his journey takes a turn when his mom calls him to tell him his delinquent brother has been arrested again. Despite not seeing him for five years, Lewis heads to pick up his brother Fuller (Steve Zahn)
Enter the annoying older brother with massive “issues” he tells his brother where he’s going and he wants to go with him. Now if Lewis had just been brave enough to do what he thought was right instead of listening to his idiot brother the crazy few days that they faced would never have happened, although that would have been a crappy film!
Fuller buys a CB radio and starts messing around with truckers, it’s here he comes into contact with Rusty Nail. Then he persuades Lewis to act like a woman and lead on Rusty Nail, after a confrontation with an angry man at a hotel they set him up with Rusty who thinks he’s meeting the woman they pretended to be.
Like most pranks that aren’t filmed for YouTube things do not go well. Rusty arrives and he’s very angry when he finds out there’s no woman. This is where the film really picks up the pace, the brothers are told that the man they set up with Rusty Nail is in critical condition. After seeing the body in the hospital they come clean about what they’ve done. It all doesn’t really matter as all they have is that Rusty is driving a truck and his CB name is Rusty Nail.
The brothers head out and pick up Venna but after some drinks together Rusty gets in touch again. They all sober up pretty damn quickly after Rusty plays a sick trick on them and the film is then a series of tense chase scenes either in the car or with them on foot and Rusty in his truck.
It all builds up to Rusty kidnapping one of them and trying to trick the others into killing their friend. The last scene is a battle for them to save their friend involving all three of them and the police versus Rusty Nail and his massive juggernaut truck.
- There’s a great tense atmosphere created during the chases.
- Rusty Nail’s voice which was added post production.
- Although Fuller is annoying in some ways, I still wanted all three main characters to make it through the film something I don’t normally experience watching horror films.
- The pacing of the film is good, it builds the brothers relationship adds in a third character and introduces us to the killer before we get the real chases and tense moments that drive the film.
- The ending, clearly pointing towards the second film despite it taking a few years to come out.
- Not a great deal really annoyed me about this film, normally I’d like to see some blood and guts but I don’t think this film would have benefited from it. I mean sure there are some moments when you’ll think how did Rusty know that was going to happen. Like when he leaves messages spray painted for them to follow, like all horror films you’ll think bloody hell why didn’t they do this, go that way or try this instead.
I think this film is well worth a watch, it’s not really a horror but more of a mystery thriller I suppose is the label you’d use. Don’t let that put you off though, it’s a tense ride all the way through packed with some great moments. If you’ve got some time to kill and want something that’s not hard to follow and is a fun watch then this is the film for you.
Overall Rating – 7/10