FOUR STARS OUT OF TEN
Rest Stop was a direct-to-video movie that I caught on cable the other night. Written and directed by John Shiban and released in 2006, the film follows a girl, Nicole, who is traveling to California with her boyfriend Jess. They stop at a deserted rest stop, and Nicole comes out of the bathroom to find her boyfriend is gone with the car. Enter psychotic red-headed hillbilly. Yeehaw. I half completely hated this movie. Does that mean I half completely liked it? No, it doesn't. I would say if you're a horror movie fan, there's enough in this movie to keep you watching until the end. Five things, actually. The acting isn't all that bad. The camerawork isn't all that bad and is reminiscent of Texas Chainsaw Massacre (original). The plot, admittedly, is kind of creepy (who even stops at rest stops nowadays?) and a couple of good scares are delivered. There is a deformed, picture-taking midget (sorry, little person) in this movie. People like midgets, and I am no different. Okay, so that's the fourth thing. The fifth thing is that Joey Lawrence from Blossom makes an all-too-short appearance. Can you believe Blossom was on for FIVE seasons?!
On to why I half completely hated this movie. First and foremost, this film was very low on the scary, jump-out-of-your-fucking-seat totem pole. I mean, what's the point, right? The director throws in a side of gratuitous violence, and he thinks he's going to win me over? It's not scary, it's just gross. Shiban also tosses in an incestuous, Winnebago-driving, preacher family who are seemingly oblivious to the violent goings-on at the rest stop. "Oh, come in and have a cup of tea, little girl. Oh, the psychotic red-headed hillbilly chasing you is just misunderstood. And you're going to hell." Snore. It's been done a billion times, you make me weep. Next up is the "Is this all really happening or is the girl herself crazy?" conundrum.
In the end, if you take Rest Stop for what it is - a been-there-done-that horror movie with a couple good scares - then you won't be cursing yourself for the 90 minutes or so you lost of your life.