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SYNOPSIS:Rusty Nail is back on the road again looking to punish injustice at every turn - and this time it's with a group of hothead twenty-somethings on their way to the Road Rally 1000. As they drive through a desolate shortcut on the way to the race, an encounter with Rusty turns sour, and soon he is tracking, teasing, and torturing them until the end of the road.

DIRECTOR:Declan O'Brien

CAST:Kirsten Prout, Ben Hollingsworth, Ken Kirzinger, Dean Armstrong, Jesse Hutch, Leela Savasta, Gianpaolo Venuta, Jake Manley, Sara Mitich.

MY THOUGHTS:Rusty uses the Internets!

REVIEW:It's been six years since killer trucker Rusty Nail, stalked the highways. Looking for fresh, young meat to terrorize. The first sequel in the franchise appeared back in 2008. A pretty good film and followup. At least in my opinion. The franchise was thought to be buried after that film. Although Rusty Nail, the villain...sure as heck wasn't. As normally with straight-to-disc horror franchises. If another sequel doesn't crop up after 2 years then it usually doesn't happen. Either that, or a remake is in the works at some major studio. In the case of "Joy Ride". Its villain isn't iconic enough for a remake to ever happen. So we were left to assume that somewhere, some writers were banging away at a new direction to take the franchise in. With a potential second sequel. And so here we are in 2014, with "Joy Ride 3:Road Kill".

This time around, Rusty's legend has expanded. He now has immortalized a stretch of highway in the area thanks to his rising body count. The locals all fear that highway, and it's now to the point where it doesn't even appear on some road maps. Something revealed later on in the movie through bits of dialogue. The third entry starts with some local druggies looking to score some more speed. When druggie 1's girlfriend freaks out at the notion that they're "dry". They get the idea to contact a random trucker, and rob him for his drugs. If not his drugs, then his money. So they can buy some more drugs. They end up contacting Rusty Nail (Kirzinger), in a cool opening scene where the pic gives a nice nod and homage, to "Joy Ride" (2001). With an infamous mention/namedrop. Things don't exactly go as "planned", for our pair of thieves/abusers. Fans of the franchise can pretty much already guess how these two end up. But the unfolding of events itself, is quite nicely done for a franchise that started out more mental and less visual.

From here, we meet the films "new" protogs. Led by upbeat blonde bombshell Jewel (Prout), and the somewhat enigmatic Jordan (Hutch). And in an ironic twist, these are actually kids you can root for! Unlike the first two films. Where a mean prank, and a case of quasi-kinda-sorta-auto-theft-breaking-and-entering. Eventually led to Rusty's wrath coming down upon the main characters. This group is just traveling to Canada for an auto race. Representing their own indie racing team. In order to shave a day off their journey, they decide to take the aforementioned forbidden stretch of highway. Despite the protests of a local diner patron, and a local cop. Silly teenagers, there are no shortcuts in life. They of course cross paths with Rusty Nail. Who doesn't seem to mind the youngsters. Until one of them decides to antagonize him in mid-journey. No one one-ups Rusty! On the road! Especially... HIS ROAD! This 'slight' by the young speedsters, prompts Rusty to "Google" (not really but you get the joke)... the license plate number off one of the youngsters cars. From there, he pulls up the info on their racing team.

And then, it's GAME ON! Although not nearly as smart, clever, and heart-pounding as the first film. Nor as dark and edgy as its first sequel. "Joy Ride 3" does a good job at simply unleashing Rusty upon his newfound foes, HEAD-ON! I guess at this stage in the game, it makes sense from a series blueprint standpoint. Part 1, was all about presenting this mysterious, but sadistic and twisted villain. Part 2 kind of wobbled between furthering his vengeful ways and attitudes. While also at times, adding a dash of anti-hero mixed in with it. The third movie though, FULLY... establishes Rusty as a villain. PURE EVIL, and VERY MEAN. Mostly because the lenghts he goes to, in attacking these people. Is more beyond-the-pale than usual. Which sets a much different, darker tone for things. But then again, you kind of have to sympathize with Rusty this time around SOMEWHAT. Remember, the film starts off with him being the victim of an attempted robbery. So he's sort of already in a bad mood anyways. Not to mention, looking back on the franchise as a whole. He's been tricked into believing the illusion of a hot woman, had his house broken into and his car stolen, and now... almost robbed and killed by two meth-heads.

An unhinged psycopath can only take so much right? And if you prefer your Rusty Nail in his original 'cat-and-mouse' form. Well, you'll be a bit disappointed in this entry. Rusty DOES game the youngsters a few times. But his motives are a lot more clear this time around. Not only does he make demands to be "compensated"... for his troubles. But he makes it pretty obvious that he intends to make sure these kids DON'T make it to their little race up North. And as for anyone else who gets in his way, well... good luck with that. While our "heroes", are a bit under-developed from a character standpoint in this newest entry. They make up for it with a higher level of bravery than previous protogs. Which falls in line with their "hobby" of being race car drivers. Sure, they do show fear at times towards Rusty. Especially when he begins to pick off the group and whittle their numbers down. But you never get the sense of "panic", or "deep, guttural, terror".

From this particular crop of kids. "Joy Ride 3" paces itself well, and does a good job of building and increasing the level of high octane violence leading up to its finale. Which takes place in a junkyard. Where Rusty has cornered what's left of the race car kids. The conclusion of events is somewhat predictable, but fits the franchise pattern well enough at this point. Being on movie "number 3" and all. "Joy Ride 3:Road Kill" lacks a lot of the bits and pieces that made the first two movies so much fun to watch. But its replacement of them with more blood and gore, and a further "blackening", of its franchise villains already "black", heart. Creates some interesting new terrain for the pic to play with.

THE GOOD:Rusty's newly-broadened mean streak fits the newest sequel nicely. He's also a lot more like a bold, buzzsaw in this entry. Instead of a mostly unseen and shrouded brute, lurking in the shadows. Like he was in the previous two movies. The protogs are a bit under-developed on the character side. But they had heart in the face of what they were dealing with. It's always refreshing to get heroes who beg or show fear when its necessary. And don't whine the whole movie throughout. The opening kill, and the 'vice' kill were pretty cool also.

THE BAD:The final scene, and how the movie ultimately ends. I mean, it's not surprising to me as someone very familiar with this genre. But I was hoping for a tighter, and more creative finishing touch.

OVERALL:Three stars out of four.


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