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Film Review: ‘Rest Stop’ – Are road trip films more popular in wartime?

reststop.0Anyone who has ever been on a road trip and had to pull into a gas station or rest stop knows how disgustingly horrifying they can sometimes be. And if experiencing the neglected filth and stench of a dirty sink or toilet isn’t terrifying enough, now there’s a horror movie based entirely on the idea. When two rebellious young people run away from home and head to Los Angeles, they make the mistake of pulling into a rest stop that has been a serial killer’s trap for decades.

For a B-grade horror film with only one well-known actor playing a minor part, the movie, reminiscent of “Hostel,” is pretty effective. Jaimie Alexander, the lead actress, convincingly plays Nicole, a runaway exerting her independence until she becomes trapped by a maniacal murderer and must fight to stay alive. And Joey Lawrence, of “Blossom,” “Gimme a Break” and “Dancing with the Stars” fame, has a small role as a dumb police officer who ultimately meets his doom.

The scenes in which the people are actually using the disgusting, germ-saturated facility are almost as creepy and disturbing as traditional horror movie torture scenes. The lead character is in desperate need of a cell phone, a gun and a can of Lysol throughout the film, which is similar to other road trip movies made in recent years.

Because of their popularity, I think the “road trip” film can now be officially considered a new category of the horror genre. It may have started with “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” of 1974 or “Deliverance” of 1972. Both were deemed symbolic of the Vietnam war. Modern day road trip movies share similar characteristics. All revolve around the idea of carefree young people entering unfamiliar territory and fighting someone or some thing to stay alive. Is it possible that road trip films are more popular in wartime because of what they potentially symbolize?

In 2005, road trip movies like “The Butcher,” “Trespassers,” and “Wolf Creek” were released, and “The Hills Have Eyes” remake, “Hostel,” “The Descent” and “Turistas” were released in 2006. reports the following road trip horror movies scheduled for release in 2007. They include:

Penny Dreadful – A teenage girl, suffering from a severe phobia of automobiles due to a childhood accident that killed her parents, accompanies her therapist on a road trip as part of her recovery. But, when the two women encounter a dark and mysterious stranger, an attempt at healing quickly turns to nightmare.

Dark Ride – A group of college students go on a road trip and stop at an abandoned amusement park in Asbury Park, N.J., where they are stalked by a vicious killer.

The Breed – The story of a group of friends who take a vacation trip to an old cabin in an isolated island only to fend themselves against a pack of vicious killers.

The Backwoods – Set in the summer of 1978, a couple of vacationing English tourists travel to their friend’s house in a Basque village only to discover a girl in the woods with strangely deformed hands.

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