“Rest Stop” Movie Review (2006)
Article by SisterRoboto of lefthandhorror.com
Directed by: John Shiban (Writer and Producer of X-Files)
“Rest Stop, Dead Ahead”
The Hollywood dreams of two runaway lovers are suddenly transformed into living nightmares when a momentary pause at an abandoned roadside rest stop turns into a struggle for survival against a predator who sadism knows no boundaries in this tense nail-biter from X-Files writer and executive producer John Shiban. The west coast was a long way off, and when Jess and Nichole decided to stretch their legs at a deserted rest stop they could never have anticipated the terror that awaited them. Now Jess has disappeared, and a savage stranger with a penchant for cruel games has turned up in her place. This is no coincidence, however, and before the day is over Nichole will be forced to fight for her life against a murderous maniac whose creative use of power tools will have her screaming for mercy.
The latter-day revival of the blood splatter movie appears to have no intention of slowing down anytime soon (Hostel, The Hills Have Eyes, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and countless others). Rest Stop is just another example of a film on the bloody bandwagon. This movie was a straight to video release in 2006 as the first film of many produced by a new company called Raw Feed that formed to make nothing but splatter flicks. Raw Feed was created to be the “horror genre specialists” under their parent company, Warner Home Video. This is considered a b-movie and did not receive the greatest ratings from critics or reviewers. I will go against the grain on this one and be in the 40% who did like this movie. Sure, it had its share of problems, but overall I thought the movie was dark, gritty, and violent. I can appreciate the fact the Raw Feed made a slasher movie for no rhyme or reason, just because it “could” happen for no reason.
Talk about the start of a crappy day. Rest Stop follows two young lovers on a road trip from TX to CA, Nicole and Jess. The plotline is simple; take Texas Chainsaw and place it at a rest stop in the middle of nowhere. They pull into the rest stop and for no apparent reason, begin to be terrorized by this stalking predator in an old yellow truck. It becomes a cat-and-mouse situation during this long night, trying to outsmart the bad guy, find her boyfriend, and stay alive… of course. This is about the time when Joey Lawrence, 80’s teen heartthrob, makes his appearance as a local police officer that gets brutally murdered (couldn’t resist mentioning that). Shiban writes in some weird scene with a crazy religious family who freak out Nicole. It was there just for shock, and had no real place in the film. This is an example of a scene that did absolutely nothing for me and I’m a little confused at the whole incident.
Shiban made a conscious decision to not show us the killer, which is completely fine with me. Yes, Rest Stop is bloody as all hell – there are tongues cut off, lips sewn shut, fingers bitten off, brains blown out (twice), legs rolled over and tons more. The effects look great and in such a thin-structured plot, it really amplifies the entertainment value when there are some good blood and guts flying across the screen. I guess the main problem I had with the movie was it’s evil-minded intent. It turned me off a bit at the end. I’m not saying Shiban was aiming at this, but I do feel like the final scene of the film was cold blooded and empty. There was really no lesson to be learned and nothing to be gained by the characters in the film. It was just straight forward violent, which I guess some of you are truly gonna dig.
Although I’ve now seen Rest Stop three times, what did I expect? Probably exactly what I got from watching it free on cable. More than likely, I would have been pissed to pay $13 in a theater for this one, but hey, it was free viewing from the comfort of my living room. Being a graphic designer, I can always appreciate a good movie poster as the case with this one. I believe this was probably a big stepping-stone for Raw Feed that can only lead to bigger and better productions. I would 100% recommend checking this out, some of you will be in gore-heaven and won’t want to come back to reality. I will never look at a staple gun the same way again and please remember to always use the buddy system at rest stops!
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