Rest Stop Review

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[Rest Stop]
Plot:Tells the story of two young people, a guy and a girl, on a road trip from Texas to California. After pulling into a rest stop for a bathroom break, the girl Nicole returns only to find her boyfriend and the car are gone, stranding her in the middle of nowhere. Soon a yellow truck appears, with the person inside it seemingly hellbent on terrorizing Nicole, eventually turning the situation into a cat and mouse game. Can Nicole stay alive long enough to find her boyfriend, and defeat her attacker?

Cast: Joey Lawrence, Joey Mendicino, Jaimie Alexander.

My Thoughts:Not bad not bad at all

Review:"Rest Stop" is another film in a long line of "road trip gone bad movies". Films such as "Joyride", "Wrong Turn", "Jeepers Creepers", and "The Forsaken" have all used this premise to set up a plot arc for the chaos to ensue later. While "Rest Stop" doesn't deliver the blood and gore of a "Forsaken", "Jeepers Creepers", or "Wrong Turn"...and lacks the suspense of a "Joyride" still manages to do some likeable things with a very thin cast mostly full of unknowns. The film finds a young couple in the usual situation, young and wanting more for themselves. Their plan of course, involves running away to Los Angeles and escaping their small Texas town. Mostly for Nicole though (Jaimie Alexander), it's about escaping her parents militant rule and making her own decisions in life. Everything is running smoothly until they stop at a roadside rest stop, and after Nicole exits the bathroom, her boyfriend and his car are both gone. To make matters worse, a mysterious yellow truck has entered the scene, and the driver seems to be purposely tormenting Nicole by chasing her around in it. "Rest Stop" lays out most of it's cards at the get go but saves a few shocks and surprises for later on in the film. The jist is who is this guy chasing Alexander's character, and what if any connection does he have to her boyfriends disappearance? The mysterious man in the truck is the clear antagonist of the film, make no mistake about that. He not only chases Nicole around in the truck, but also tosses her little things which belong to her boyfriend just to let her know he has him...somewhere. "Rest Stop" starts to get stuck in the mud so to speak when it relies too much on it's leading lady. Now I know what you're gonna say, horror films need better acting, and that's the last thing anyone should be complaining about. But Jaimie Alexander carries way too much of this film with her performance (which is really quite good by the way). It seems at some point...writer/director John Shiban forgot this movie was described as a nonstop, intense, horrific thriller. It tries to get this all right, but it begins to repeat itself alot, as Alexander's character finds herself holed up at this rest stop as the mystery man rides by to torment her every now and then. This takes up a huge chunk of the film, and one has to wonder why exactly doesn't the killer just go in and grab her or why doesn't Nicole just make a run for it and seek help somewhere? It's like Shiban wants us to believe the killer is sort of using this rest stop bathroom as a cage of sorts, and Nicole is like the mouse he's keeping trapped inside but riding by to check on every now and then. But is she really trapped, or just too scared to try and escape? Or did the budget constraints disallow for much to happen outside of the rest stop bathroom thus the film had to be confined inside it most of the time? These questions are never answered, as aren't the motives of the killer. Although Shiban does paint a strong ora of intrigue around his villain. We have creepy scribblings on a bathroom stall inside the rest stop, which pertain to the killer himself, and are obviously from his former victims. And a frightened girl who may or may not be an illusion pops up inside the same bathroom just to create more of a fear of the villain from the viewer's point of view. There's also a pretty graphic scene which is a take off of Carly losing her finger in "House of Wax", only in "Rest Stop" the finger clipping isn't done with a tool but something else...(I won't reveal what). Joey Lawrence shows up in the picture in a pretty lengthy cameo as a road cop who happens by and tries to rescue Nicole. The combination of poor writing of his character and Lawrence's bad acting make his character a forgettable one and quite frankly...this movie would've scored more points with me if Lawrence had just died after getting his legs run over by the psycho trucker guy instead of making us suffer through another bad Joey Lawrence performance. "Rest Stop" manages to pack a few surprises and loads of action into it's final 15 minutes while still leaving the viewer with alot of unanswered questions right up until the very end. The film does set itself up for a sequel but to do so, it sets up three different avenues to possibly continue down. Not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing considering the first movie didn't answer enough questions in my opinion. "Rest Stop" is an above average effort at the "stalk and slash road trip from hell" subgenre, but shoots itself in the foot by staying in one place too long and not giving enough answers to it's great big mysteries.

Pros:Decent story, great acting by Jaimie Alexander the female lead. Pretty exciting climax.

Cons:Not enough questions answered throughout the course of the movie. The entire Joey Lawrence cameo, too much of the film takes place in the rest stop bathroom.

Overall:Above Average film that's worth checking out on dvd.

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