#189 -- Rest Stop: Dead Ahead (2006)
Director: John Shiban
I've seen this movie quite a few times, but for some reason I can never remember very much about it. It's cool, because each time I watch it, it's like I'm watching a new movie, and I enjoy it just as much as I did the first time. Of course, now that I'm looking into and writing about it, I'll never forget it again. It is a very enjoyable movie, and it's pretty obvious where it gets its inspiration. It's got a Texas Chainsaw Massacre feel to it, but it doesn't feel like a rip-off at all. It's a completely different story, and it never fails to entertain. This one started off with Nichole and Jesse, young lovers on their way to California to start their lives over. Once they got to California, Nichole needed to use the bathroom, but she refused to "pee in the dirt" as Jesse suggested. They found an old, dirty rest stop and pulled in so she could relieve herself. Once she was finished, she came out of the bathroom only to find that Jesse was gone. At first, she was pissed because she thought he left her. But once she saw all the missing person flyers, she kind of started to get the feeling something was wrong. Add to that the creepy messages written in the bathroom stall, and Nichole started getting really scared. There were messages about someone killing women's husbands, cutting them, etc. It was a man in a dingy old yellow pick-up truck. He tried to kill Nichole (or maybe just scare her?) by ramming his truck into her car, while she was inside. He kept going back, but he never really tried anything else. Eventually, a police officer (Joey Lawrence) showed up and tried to help her. Unfortunately for the both of them, he only ended up getting his legs run over by The Driver. Paralyzed and slowly dying, he knew he wasn't going to be much help to Nichole. Then The Driver set fire to the bathroom, and they both knew there was no way Officer was going to get out of there. He asked--no, begged--her to shoot him. She put the gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger. But it didn't kill him. This was the one bit of comic relief in this movie. He snapped his eyes open and said, "You missed! Shoot me again!"
I don't know what The Driver's deal was, because it never explained that part to me. But he liked to torture people. He had a bus out in the middle of nowhere; he'd take them there, and do some really fuck shit to them. Unfortunately, I didn't get to see that much of the torturing. The most I got to see was on Nichole's camera. He took it, and recorded Jesse being tortured. What I saw, though, was very disturbing.
He drilled holes into their legs, cut out their tongues, sewed their mouths shut, stapled them in various places, etc. The movie also features a crazy bible-humping family with a deformed child; the wife liked to scream, "You whore!" until it became extremely annoying. There was also a ghost in the restroom: a girl named Tracy who was killed by The Driver in 1971.
There wasn't a whole lot in the way of scares. Mostly what I felt was worry for Nichole. There was nothing in it that actually scared me, but it made me kind of nervous. I really wanted her to survive, and I really really wanted her to find Jesse alive. I thought they worked really well together (even though they were only together for a couple of scenes), and I loved them as a couple. I was rooting for them big time. Of course, relationships don't usually work out in horror movies, so I was pretty sad at the end. There might not have been many scares, but I will say the gore was good. Though it was really gore, actually. There weren't buckets of blood flowing everywhere, but it was very disturbing cringe-worthy stuff. It never showed The Driver's face, up until the very end, and even then it was partially in shadows. I thought that gave it at least a little bit of creepiness. Even though he was human, and we could form our own images of him, he was still a faceless killer. There's something disappointing about seeing a killer's face, because then we realize that they truly are human. Tracy, the ghost woman, told Nichole that there was no way The Driver was human, because no real person could do those things to anyone. The fact that he was "faceless" only helped cement that theory: that he was a monster, less than human.
So, to sum it up: Rest Stop is a good movie that'll leave you feeling a little sad. But you won't feel like you've wasted your time with it.