Directed by Craig Singer [Other horror films: Perkins’ 14 (2009), 6:45 (2021)]
I think this is my third time watching Dark Ride, and the first time that I realized that it’s really not a good movie. It’s not a terrible movie, don’t get me wrong – if you want a quick slasher that has decent kills, then you could certainly do much worse. Even so, Dark Ride hits about the bare minimum of requirements, and I only just realized it with my most recent watch.
Most of the plot and kills strike me as competent (the blowjob decapitation perhaps standing out the most), with the only thing really setting this apart, at least to me, is the setting, and to be fair, it’s more or less just a rehash of Hooper’s The Funhouse anyway. None of the characters really stick with me, and some of the arguably better characters (Patrick Renna, for instance) sort of fall flat come the finale. Like I said, Dark Ride is competent, but it isn’t really much more.
It’s hard to say that anyone really stood out. Patrick Renna (Fear, Inc. and ‘Bad Blood,’ one of the best episodes of The X-Files) had charm at times, in his awkwardly geeky way, but he could also be a bit of a dick. At least he was somewhat memorable, though, as David Clayton Rogers and Alex Solowitz often feel as though they fade into the background.
Jamie Lynn-Sigler and Jennifer Tisdale were cute, I guess, but it’s Andrea Bogart who is clearly the VIP here, as far as actresses go. Her introductory scene cracks me up, and though she may just be a generic hippie character, I totally dug it. The killer (played by Dave Warden) had a decent-looking design, but wasn’t really anything special or that remarkable.
There is a bit of comedic value in the film. Nothing major, but a few quips here and there that I sort of chuckled at, such as Renna’s character apparently not knowing what a condom was, or Renna’s constant movie talk, and Andrea Bogart’s impassioned delivery about music, hitchhiking, and sexual assault, not to mention the scene at the gas station. There’s enough here to at least keep you amused even if the horror aspects were by-the-numbers.
Certainly I think the finale as a whole was laughably awful – while I liked aspects of the twist, I thought it came across as sort of cheesy, and not much of a shock. It’s not as though it ruined the movie, though, as the film still has a little entertainment value, but the ending was definitely something that could have been improved.
Dark Ride is entertaining to an extent, and if you’re a slasher fan, I doubt you’d have a terrible time with this, but it probably lacks what makes some of the best slasher films memorable, so it may best be suited for a single viewing as opposed to making any type of annual rotation.
This is one of the films covered by Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss Dark Ride.