In this scary thriller, two brothers who are driving through the West on their way to pick up a friend (Sobieski) start talking on a CB radio to amuse themselves. The older sibling, a pugnacious goofball named Fuller (Zahn), goads his younger brother Lewis (Walker) into faking a woman's voice and flirting over the CB with a lonely trucker who goes by the handle Rusty Nail. The siblings arrange a fake rendezvous with the trucker, giving him the number of the hotel room next to their own. When the male occupant of that room turns up mauled and mutilated, it becomes clear ol' Rusty lacks a sense of humor.
Director John Dahl gives Joy Ride the same potent mix of black humor and chills that he brought to The Last Seduction (1994), turning what could have been a routine horror movie into a superior suspense film. Zahn, as a cutup incapable of keeping his mouth shut even when his life depends on it, gives a jolt to every scene he's in. Sobieski and Walker are fine. (R)
Bottom Line: Follow that car