Driving through thriller stereotypes

By James Keller

In a world of rehashed storylines and tired, cliché scripts, a good thriller is hard to find. Fortunately, the stars of Joy Ride are hoping to offer something different to audiences bored with the usual teen horror movies.

"It represents kind of an older thriller," says Steve Zahn, who plays Fuller in the movie. "It’s not some complicated story about who did what and who’s the killer, or some guy jumping our of a closet with an axe chasing some chick in underwear across a lawn."

Zahn’s co-star, Paul Walker, has similar feelings about what sets this movie apart from others like I Know What You Did Last Summer.

"When people think of a scary movie, they think of a guy running around with a big butcher knife, or something like that," says Walker. "I think this is more a psychological thriller."

Joy Ride follows the mistakes of Lewis (Walker) and Fuller (Zahn), brothers who lure a truck driver into a motel room beside theirs after a practical joke on a CB radio. After the occupant in that room is found dead, they find themselves, along with Lewis’ friend Venna (Leelee Sobieski), terrorized by the murdering trucker as he chases them across a desert highway. Zahn hopes that steering away from the mystery thriller format of previous horror movies is the big drawing point in the film.

"The bad guy isn’t just some bad guy," he says. "We fuck with him, it’s our fault. We have to be responsible for our stupidity and this just happened to be the wrong guy to screw with."

Both actors believe that having John Dahl, of Rounders and The Last Seduction fame, directing the movie is another big selling point.

"I’ve seen his work before having the first meeting with him," says Walker. "I think he’s got a really good filmmaking style."

Zahn’s experience with Dahl extends back further than Walker’s. He first met Dahl during the casting for Rounders. Although instead of casting Zahn, Edward Norton was cast instead. Despite this letdown, Zahn says that the main reason he was involved with Joy Ride was Dahl’s involvement.

"I think he makes really interesting movies," says Zahn about Dahl’s previous work. "[His involvement] was a huge factor. In the end, he just wants it to be entertaining."

This is also the idea shared by the two actors, who have had very different careers. Walker says he doesn’t quite know what to expect from audiences, but hopes that at the very least, they’ll think it was worth the admission into the theatre.

"I thought that this is something that I as a moviegoer would want to see," he says, defending his choice for becomming a part of the production.

Zahn’s attitude is very similar, but isn’t overly concerned with its commercial success.

"I’m very proud of it, we worked our asses off," says Zahn. "But we’re finished and whatever. Things that we have no control over, we seem to latch onto and try to conrol–it’s impossible. I think the best thing to do is do the best you can."

One thing concerning Zahn is the rating the film got, which he sees is hypocritical of the movie

"The ratings people in America keep children free and protect them from the word ‘fuck.’ It’s just ridiculous," says Zahn, comparing the movie to a new film he’s working on with Martin Lawerence. "We shoot like 20 guys, but because we don’t put blood on them, it’s PG-13, but when you sit in a car and say ‘fuck,’ it’s rated X."

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