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Joy Ride (2001)

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Three young people on a road trip from Colorado to New Jersey talk to a trucker on their CB radio, then must escape when he turns out to be a psychotic killer.


John Dahl
3,390 ( 1,245)
3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Steve Zahn ... Fuller
Paul Walker ... Lewis
Leelee Sobieski ... Venna
Jessica Bowman ... Charlotte
Stuart Stone ... Danny (Lewis's Roommate)
Basil Wallace ... Car Salesman
Brian Leckner ... Officer Keeney
Mary Wickliffe ... Salt Lake City Police Desk Clerk
McKenzie Satterthwaite McKenzie Satterthwaite ... Asst. Salt Lake City Police Desk Clerk
Dell Yount ... Gas Station Mechanic
Kenneth White Kenneth White ... Ronald Ellinghouse
Luis Cortés Luis Cortés ... Night Manager (as Luis Cortes)
Michael McCleery ... Officer Akins
Jim Beaver ... Sheriff Ritter
Rachel Singer ... Gas Station Manager


College student Lewis decides to drive across the country to see Venna, a friend who doesn't know that Lewis is interested in her romantically. Unfortunately for his plans, Lewis gets saddled with his raucous-spirited older brother, Fuller, whose on-the-road pranks get the brothers and Venna sucked into a nightmare when a psychotic truckdriver takes offense. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Terror comes in all shapes. And all sizes... See more »


Mystery | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence/terror and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

5 October 2001 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Candy Cane See more »

Filming Locations:

Santa Clarita, California, USA See more »


Box Office


$23,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,347,259, 7 October 2001, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$21,973,182, 6 January 2002

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | DTS



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Body Count: 0. See more »


Table Rock is depicted as being bigger than it is in real life. In reality it is no more than an encampment for oil workers. See more »


Rusty Nail: [on the phone] Ya know what I really get a kick out of? Pretending the person I'm talking to is right next to me. Right next to me...
See more »

Alternate Versions

The DVD includes four alternate endings. Three of the alternate endings are just alternate versions of the ending used. However, in all three, the two brothers physically fight Rusty Nail behind the hotel rather than Rusty Nail getting in his truck and plowing it into the hotel. In all three endings the following occurs: Lewis gets into the truck and plows it into Rusty Nail. As he is walking away from the truck, Rusty Nail grabs him from underneath and tries to pull him back in. Fuller runs to the front to stop the police from entering Room 18, but they hold him down and bust in anyways. · In the first ending Lewis is able to break the board that is supporting the truck and it comes crashing down on top of Rusty Nail. · In the second ending, Venna is able to get out of the chair. She shoots Rusty Nail with the shotgun as he is trying to pull Lewis under the truck. · In the third ending, Lewis ramming Rusty Nail with the truck knocks the truck driver into the hotel room. Lewis and Rusty Nail fight behind Venna as the police bust into the room. As they do, Lewis pushes Venna out of the way of the shotgun blast, and it ends up killing Rusty Nail. All three endings end with the three in the back of an ambulance. Lewis is talking to his father on a payphone and forces Fuller to talk to him. The fourth ending - which is actually a completely different third act - begins with the brothers naked at the rest stop. As Venna is talking to Rusty Nail, she mentions something about 70% of psychotic killers end up killing themselves. She sees Rusty Nail pull up behind her and she honks on the phone. The brothers run out, Fuller getting dressed and getting into the car, Lewis running naked across the parking lot to cut off Rusty Nail. Fuller and Venna in the car chase after Rusty Nail. As they run along side the semi truck up an off ramp, they are forced off the road by an oncoming car. Fuller swerves to miss the car and Lewis' car flips down a hill. After Fuller gets out of the car, the man in the other car punches him and begins fighting Lewis as he comes running up. Venna hears Charlotte screaming on the CB as the police show up. The next shot is in the police station with the brothers behind bars. Venna, talking the police chief tells him that she is not leaving until they find Charlotte. She also finds out that Ellinghouse, the prick who had his jaw ripped off, has died from his wounds. Rusty Nail calls the brothers on the station phone. The police trace the call as Rusty Nail says that Venna made a lot of sense when she was talking about psychotic killers killing themselves. We hear a gun blast over the phone as the police trace the call. When they get to the phone, they find a dead body in a pay phone with a shotgun blast to the face. They also find Charlotte in the back of a trailer bed. Venna goes with Charlotte in an ambulance. An officer takes the brothers. On the way back to the station, they realize that the dead body in the phone booth was the Ice Truck driver. Lewis steals the officer's gun and steals his car. Fuller has the option of staying with the officer and saving himself a felony charge but chooses to go with Lewis. They find the ambulance flipped upside down. Charlotte is there, Venna is gone, and the driver is rambling about Rusty Nail taking Venna. The words "DRINK UP!" are spray painted on the side of the ambulance and the pink champagne bottle is inside. The brothers continue down the road in the stolen police car. They come upon Rusty Nail and pull him over next to a corn field with the police siren. Fuller dresses as a cop to distract Rusty Nail as Lewis gets in back to find Venna. Rusty Nail eventually realizes this is what is going on and backs the truck into the police car forcing it into a ditch. Rusty Nail drives off with Lewis and Venna still in the back, but they eventually jump out. Fuller runs up to meet them as Rusty Nail gets out of his truck. He unlatches the trailer bed and comes after them with the semi. They run into the corn field in pretty much the same scene that is in the original. The only difference is they all stay together and they eventually come upon a tractor with a tank of Ammonia Nitrate. Lewis gets the idea of blowing up Rusty Nail and tells Fuller and Venna to run. They do, and Lewis gets Rusty Nail's attention. The semi truck comes after him and hits the gas tank, but it does not blow up. Instead, the truck is pushing the tank after Lewis. Fuller and Venna get out of the corn field and turn to see Lewis close behind. Lewis screams for Fuller to shoot the gas tank with the officer's gun. Fuller finally hits the tank and the truck explodes. The three watch the truck burn as the police arrive. At the hospital, Lewis and Venna finally kiss. Fuller thinks he could make a pretty good cop. Paramedics show up with Rusty Nail and try to revive him. As the three watch on, Rusty Nail finally dies. Fuller says he can't believe it, but he actually wants to go home. See more »


References Superman (1978) See more »


If You're Gonna Leave Me
Written and Performed by John Bohlinger
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Scary Road Thriller Somewhat Reminiscent of "The Hitcher".
15 February 2007 | by drownnnsodaSee all my reviews

"Joy Ride" is an extremely entertaining road-set horror/thriller that was surprisingly quite good. The film is about Lewis (Paul Walker), a college coed who decides to buy himself a car and take off across the desert to pick up a would-be-girlfriend, Venna (Leelee Sobieski) in Colorado for a road trip together. He then learns that his older troubled brother, Fuller (Steve Zahn) has been arrested in Salt Lake City, so he picks him up on the way. After having a CB radio installed into the car, the two take off to pick up Venna, but end up pulling a prank on an anonymous trucker who goes by the name of "Rusty Nail" (excellently voiced by Ted Levine) on the CB radio. After the trucker learns about the prank, he attacks the brothers with his large semi, but they manage to escape. But soon after they pick up Venna, the menacing truck driver begins harassing them again, seeking revenge for the joke they decided to play on him - he'll stop at nothing to get it, and he's looking for more than an apology.

Reminiscent of "The Hitcher" in quite a few ways, but also a much different film, "Joy Ride" was a surprise for me. I was expecting something along the lines of your typical teenage-horror fare, and I was pleasantly surprised with this intelligent and heart-pounding little thriller of a film. To start off, the story in itself is very nicely written and manages to avoid clichés. The characters in this film are smart, and the audience is rooting for them the entire way through. There are some excellently orchestrated thrill sequences, one of them being the really intense chase through the cornfield, among others, and these scenes are sure to get you on the edge of your seat.

Tension builds slowly during the first 40 minutes or so, and from there it just goes rampant. The cast is led by Paul Walker, who hasn't accomplished anything too amazing, but manages to lead the film well and play his character believably. Steve Zahn in his quirky and funny older brother, and plays the part suitably. Leelee Sobieski plays the intuitive girl-next-door friend who ends up along for the ride, and she also gives a worthy performance. The psycho-trucker villain of the film is very scary, never really seen - we get to know him through the frightening conversations on the CB radio, where he makes numerous threats and has many disturbing confrontations with the group of friends. Ted Levine, who played the notorious Buffalo Bill in "The Silence of the Lambs" voices the psychopath, and his voice itself is creepy enough, and adds to the villain's overall demeanor. The ending was excellent, and I loved how ominous it was. I really didn't see it coming, and it concluded on a very unnerving note.

Overall, "Joy Ride" is a superior action-filled horror/thriller that came as a big surprise to me. It was intelligent, tense, scary, and very well-written, which was nice because of my semi-low (no pun intended) expectations going into it. People who enjoyed "The Hitcher" will more than likely also enjoy this road trip from hell. Very well done and worth seeing for both horror and thriller fans alike. 8/10.

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