So what we have here is a guy who’s getting lucky with a Japanese supermodel.
Which would definitely be the case, if it weren’t for the fact that our guy in question, Greg, is married. And his wife, Amanda, is not taking the cheating very well. She’s going to pieces over it, in fact.
So much so that she’s dead within the first five minutes. Tand the rest of the movie is going to be Greg disposing of the body, getting even fortherly lucky with Yumi (the Japanese supermodel, remember?) and trying to live with the guilt as things go very wrong all around him.
“Death Ride,” of course, has plenty of Japanese influence to it–check out the almost classically grey ghost’s appearance just shy of ten minutes in. That’s a real signature move amongst most Japanese horror.
Let me just take a couple moments here to really throw some props Rand Gamble’s way. The man is literally, LITERALLY, carrying the film. First off, he has something like eighty to ninety percent of the screen time all to his onesies.
Second, he looks like a young Bruce Campbell–which includes all of Bruce’s old shifty-eye movements when he’s agitated. And Rand is really, REALLY agitated through the first fifteen minutes after he kills his wife. It’s really rather amazing–he LOOKS like a guy who has just killed his wife. He acts weird. He acts goofy. He ACTS like a guy who’s got his wife’s corpse cooling in the trunk and wrapped in canvas.
That’s before we get into the really hallucinatory stuff.
The first twenty-odd minutes found me thinking about “Dead End”, a recent really good release involving a car and a family in the middle of nowhere, to whom lots and lots of strange things happen. “Dead End” shares a lot of similarities with “Death Ride”, and they’re all good similarities. “Death Ride,” much like “Dead End”, is incredibly minimalist in its use of setting. Apart from some occasional scenes in other places, the bulk of the first half of the movie takes place entirely on the road between Yumi’s house, where Greg kills Amanda, and Black Lake, where Greg and Yumi spent a whole lot of cheatin’ time together.
And man, do they really ratchet up the creepy! “Death Ride” is just THICK with creepy from about the ten minute mark forward.
For instance, this killer sequence at just before the thirty one minute mark. Now, I’m guessing that was mostly CG on that, but it’s a really good effect. It looks like he drove into a water balloon filled with chunky soup.
You never saw a guy go through so much headache just to dump the corpse of his cuckolded wife into a lake where he married his wife and then slept around with a Japanese supermodel.
“Death Ride”, however, is not without its share of problems. As an example, it can’t seem to give exposition without being hackneyed and trite. Greg’s infidelity is covered with the flimiest stories in a poorly acted fashion, and frankly, it’s just sad to watch. I’m not even vaguely fooled–how Amanda bought this load is beyond me.
But the exposition, gratefully, happens very seldom on this mostly road movie. Which means “Death Ride” can do what it does best–be absolutely unadulterated balls-out creepy.
The ending somehow manages to pack even more creepy events into the last fifteen minutes of footage than in the hour preceding them.
The special features are limited to a trailer for “Death Ride”.
All in all, wow. Just, wow. There were some slow moments in “Death Ride”, but I can’t help but wholeheartedly recommend it. This is some really high-quality scary movie right here, folks.