Good, ghoulish fun. Choosing to take the long way home for spring break, Darry (Justin Long) and his older sister Trish (Gina Philips) find themselves driving Trish's vintage Chevy through the heart of Nowhere, USA, on a highway that's loaded with bad juju. Twenty-three years earlier, a couple from Darry and Trish's high school disappeared on the very same highway; legend has it they never did find his body — or her head. After a scary encounter with a rusted heap of a truck (shades of Steven Spielberg's DUEL), Darry and Trish catch a glimpse of a hulking figure outside an abandoned church, unloading what appear to be bodies swaddled in bloody sheets from the back of the killer van and stuffing them down a culvert. Darry insists they investigate — what if someone needs help? — and convinces his sister to lower him down the pipe by his ankles. He panics, she loses her grip and Darry tumbles down the hole and straight into a chamber of horrors, owned and operated by one very nasty character. Like THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE before it, writer-director Victor Salva's film plays on city folk's fears about the kind of stuff that goes on in the haunted hinterlands, a place where rolling wheat fields and clapboard churches can play host to festering evil. Not everything works — Trish and Darry do a number of dumb things, dumb even by the standards of stupidity set by teenagers in horror movies — but much about it is just right. Salva has taken the trouble to develop his characters before (literally) putting them through hell, and it makes all the difference; you actually care whether they make it or not. The film is full of gruesome moments, and the ending is an unexpectedly wicked stab that defies genre conventions while leaving the door open for the inevitable — and not entirely unwelcome — sequel.
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- Released: 2001
- Rating: R
- Review: Good, ghoulish fun. Choosing to take the long way home for spring break, Darry (Justin Long) and his older sister Trish (Gina Philips) find themselves driving Trish's vintage Chevy through the heart of Nowhere, USA, on a highway that's loaded with bad juju… (more)