Jess is at the wheel. Nicole rides shotgun. And at the end of the road stretching before them is glittering, glamorous Hollywood. They're on a road trip, all right...straight to hell. When the runaway lovers pause at an abandoned rest stop, Jess disappears. And someone else appears - someone with his own demented sense of fun. With drills. Staple guns. Box cutters. All the tearing, grinding, ripping tools you need to hew wood. Or metal. Or people. Especially young, pretty people just like Nicole. Raw fear rules in Rest Stop, the first film from Raw Feed, the newest brand name in horror, sci-fi and thrillers. Director John Shiban, writer and executive producer of The X-Files and Supernatural, keeps the terrors and twists coming, each out-shocking the last. Stop. Stay awhile. But don't expect to rest.
Considering that Rest Stop
comes courtesy director John Shiban, an X-Files
and Star Trek
staff writer, one would expect this horror film to contain a kernel of originality, but unfortunately it is a poor conflation of Wolf Creek
, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre
, among others. Nicole Carrow (Jaimie Alexander) and Jess Hilts (Joey Mendocino) are young, hopeful actors taking a road trip to Hollywood, though neither reaches their final destination. A psychotic pick-up truck driver dominates the rest stop they pull off at, often maiming his victims by hitting them with his truck, then dragging them off onto a school bus where he tortures them with drills, pincers, saws, branding irons, knives, and other tools. Jess disappears early in the film, leaving Nicole to fend for herself, often by locking herself in the dingy rest stop restroom, or by running to avoid being hit by the truck. After her attempt to call a sheriff ends in the sheriff's death, Nicole's prospects for survival dim. Graphic scenes are indeed horribly disgusting, but the torture methods are so clichéd that one wishes for more psychology behind the killer's methods to actually scare. A random scene in which Nicole hitches a ride in a motorhome with some Bible-thumping freaks further pushes the film into clichéd territory. Since Rest Stop
fails to fully develop the killer or the victims' characters, it is difficult to empathize with them. Even Nicole, rendered powerless from the outset, lacks the personality to entertain through this full-length feature in which so little happens besides hunt-kill, hunt-kill. --Trinie Dalton