Thursday, October 23, 2014

October Horror Movie Challenge: Riding the Bullet (2004)

Directed by Mick Garris, Riding the Bullet is yet another horror film based off a Stephen King short story. While hitchhiking back home to visit his sick mother, Alan Parker is picked up by a mysterious stranger. As the ride goes on, Alan uncovers a terrible secret about the driver, who then gives him a choice. A choice between life and death.

Riding the Bullet feels like a Twilight Zone episode stretched out to 98 minutes. If Rod Sterling had appeared at the beginning and end of the film to give his signature monologues, I wouldn't have been surprised. Well, I might be a little surprised since he's dead and all. However, it would definitely have been a more lackluster episode with a slightly unfocused and confusing narrative.

The plot is simple enough, with a college student receiving rides from strange individuals and having weird incidents along the highway. However, certain scenes feel like someone having a somewhat tame acid trip. Just weird enough to be confusing, but not weird enough to unique or memorable.

Riding the Bullet's acting is also somewhat hit and miss as well. Jonathan Jackson's performance is alright, but a little dull at times throughout the movie. David Arquette goes a little over the top, but he's at least having fun and it works for the film's tone. Although she's only in a handful of scenes, Barbara Hershey is definitely gives the best performance. I just wish she showed up more and most of her scenes weren't repeated clips.

However, I strangely found myself enjoying Riding the Bullet despite its faults. Maybe the weirdness worked for me, maybe I liked the story hidden underneath the strange narrative structure, maybe I just liked it visually. I really can't explain it, but I thought it was alright and would probably watch it again. Its not my favorite Stephen King adaptation, but its okay.

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