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DVD Review: ‘Rest Stop’ & ‘Rest Stop 2’ (Blu-ray)
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Jack Bauerstein83   |  
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Rest Stop: Dead AheadRest Stop
Unrated Blu-Ray
Directed by John Shiban
Starring Jaimie Alexander, Joey Medicino, Joseph Lawrence
Warner Home Entertainment
Release Date: September 30, 2008

With Halloween rapidly approaching, Geeks of Doom has given me the task of reviewing various horror movies on Blu-ray. I would like to think that this task was given to me because of my bravery and steely glare, but after watching Rest Stop Unrated, perhaps it’s because they think I am a masochist.

Rest Stop follows the story of two foolishly naïve young lovers, Nicole and Jesse. On a whim the two decide to drive to California and start a new life together. Making a rest stop on the way, Nicole enters a rather seedy ladies room and when she returns, Jesse and his car are gone. To make matters worse, night begins to set and out appears a crazed hillbilly driving a yellow pickup truck who is watching her every move.

The movie starts off on the right foot. I am a huge fan of horror movies that leave a lot to the imagination and just hold the suspense for as long as possible, so I was very pleased to see our female protagonist alone for a better part of the film just wandering the rest stop grounds, taking in the creepiness that is the rest stop but once the killer shows up, the film goes downhill. This thriller very quickly turns into a slasher flick, filled to the brim with outlandish slasher flick logic. Why does a girl’s bathroom drenched in gasoline blow up like it was sitting on 40 pounds of C4 when lit? Or better yet, why does a girl, when being chased by a killer into said girl’s bathroom opt to lock the door rather than use a handgun and face him head on? Simple: It is a horror film and logic always escapes the protagonist.

Those who decide to rent this film, should take note: this is a by the book horror film, offering no surprises. The acting is at best decent and the blood, guts, and gore come at you by the bucketfuls. Hardcore fans will definitely find some redeeming value to this film, and for good reason. Even the most jaded viewer must realize that above all else, a horror film is suppose to terrify and gross out the audience and on many occasions, it fulfilled its duty.

Now here comes a big spoiler: I must admit even I had some perverse, albeit morbid, fun when former teenage heartthrob Joey Lawerence entered the picture and was run over by a pickup truck. Twice. It was oddly satisfying (and strangely enough, also made me think about his failed attempted at a singing career, but I digress) and made me realize that as long as the viewer has some fun in watching the movie, the purpose for the film’s creation has been fulfilled.

In the end, I cannot actively endorse this Rest Stop. It is definitely not my cup of tea, but I am sure there is a horror fan who just wants to sit back and enjoy some good old fashion b-movie fun. If you are this person, my friend, have I got a movie for you.

Rest Stop: Don't Look BackRest Stop
Uncut Blu-Ray
Directed by Shawn Papazian
Starring Richard Tillman, Jessie Ward, Graham Norris
Warner Home Entertainment
Release Date: September 30, 2008

I do not think that i can say the same thing for it’s sequel, Rest Stop 2: Don’t Look Back. It has been a year since Jesse and Nicole have disappeared without a trace and, Jesse’s brother, Corporal Tom Hilts, wants answers. Returning home from his tour of Afghanistan, Tom and three friends decide to go in search of Jesse and become the latest victims of that nameless hillbilly in the yellow pickup truck at the rest stop.

The film, while terrible, does have its good points. The acting by the virtually unknown cast is pretty decent and the direction is pretty good. The story does its best to advance and develop the Rest Stop story, beginning with the origin of nameless hillbilly killer and bringing Tom into the picture. There was plenty of times where I saw so much potential with Jesse’s brother’s Tom story but in the end, I think those behind the scenes really fumbled this movie big time, especially with the twist ending.

As a movie fan, I can tolerate a lot of things. Sub par acting, bad dialogue, and ridiculous action sequences but what I will not stand for is a movie that doesn’t respect the audience. The ending comes so far from left field and so absurd that I just felt that the producers and director were insulting the intelligence of the audience by allowing this ending to appear. The kicker is that this ending, though really pushing the boundaries of believability, could have been salvaged had the director took time and re-edited or even re-shot some scenes.

If horror fans are looking for a movie to watch and had to choose between the original Rest Stop or its sequel, I would place my money squarely on the original. It is the better movie overall and will keep horror fans happy.

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