Joy Ride is a 2001 horror film written and produced by J. J. Abrams (yes, thatJ.J. Abrams) and starring Paul Walker and Leelee Sobieski that subsequently spawned two direct-to-video sequels: Joy Ride 2: Dead Ahead (2008) and Joy Ride 3: Road Kill (2014). All three films follow roughly the same narrative. A group of young adult pranksters make the big mistake of pissing off a deranged truck driver, "Rusty Nail". Being the old-school road-rager that he is Rusty retaliates by stalking and terrorizing said pranksters in his large and ominous Peterbilt and often taking out a few innocent bystanders in the process. The original Joy Ride was well-received by fans of the genre and critics alike; the two sequels not-so-much but they still are largely considered to be above average popcorn slasher flicks.
This film contains examples of:
555: Rusty's cellphone number in the third movie is a 555 number.
Asshole Victim: A good chunk of the people Rusty targets are usually not-so-innocent and often deliberately provoked him first. Examples include the meth-addicts who tried to rob him, the main group in the second movie (they did break into his house, trash it some and steal his car after all), hell even Lewis and Fuller (Fuller especially when Rusty asked for an apology) in the first movie went out of their way to piss him off.
Big Badass Rig: In all three movies Rusty drives a jet-black Peterbilt 379, one of the most visually impressive and intimidating trucks on the road (there is a reason that it is the same make and model of truck used for Optimus Prime).
Bloodier and Gorier: The first movie was more of a psychological thriller with minimal bloodshed (Rusty only killed one guy and put another in the intensive care ward). The two sequels were more slasher flicks that showcased Rusty using his truck to kill people in increasingly sadistic and creative ways.
Booby Trap: Rusty rigs one up using a shotgun with its trigger connected via string to the hotel door in the climax of the first movie.
Call Back: In the pre-opening credits of the third movie intro one of the meth heads uses "Candy" as her CB handle prompting Rusty to respond that he knew a Candy Cane once.
Car Fu: A good chunk of the movies is Rusty playing bumper cars with the protagonists' vehicles.
Chronically Crashed Car: In all three movies Rusty's truck is destroyed. Shot by police and crashed into a hotel in the first one; set on fire and driven over a cliff in the second; ripped apart by a junk-yard crane and dropped into a car crusher in the third.
Everyone Lives: Played straight in Joy Ride where all main cast members survive. But averted in other two movies.
Evil Is Funny: Rusty Nail definitely has an, albeit seriously warped, sense of humor.
Evil Is Petty: Giving Rusty the finger results in bodily mutilation of either the bird-flipper or their friends.
Evil Sounds Deep: Rusty and this goes double when he is played by Mark Gibbon in the first sequel.
The Faceless: Rusty's face is always blocked by his cap. This changes in the third movie where his face is seen within the first five minutes of the movie and is shown on multiple occasions thereafter.
Fanservice: Leelee Sobieski spent the majority of her scenes braless. To say nothing of Steve Zahn and Paul Walker when Rusty blackmails Lewis and Fuller into entering a truck stop diner completely nude.
Final Girl: Melissa in Joy Ride 2, but fiancÚ Bobby survives too.
Forced to Watch: Rusty is very prone to doing this his victims. The hotel and the shotgun booby-trap climax in the first, the craps game in the second, Jewel in the trailer with the electric winch in the third.
Interviewer: Where do you find the motivation to hunt down these kids and torment them like you do?
Rusty Nail: Where do I find the motivation to hunt down these kids and torment them like I do? Well, somebody stole your car and broke into your home and kicked your door down, messed where they shouldn't be messing, you might get angry too. I just get a little more angry than the average person and I don't let people get away with things that anger me.
Hollywood CB: Many times throughout the movies, the main characters and their pursuer have inexplicable privacy on the radio. In Real Life, State Highway Patrols have a tendency to monitor CB channels and other truckers would also be listening in so in reality the cops would have been all over Rusty about half-way through the first movie.
Instant Humiliation: Just Add YouTube!: Rusty forces part of the gang in the second movie to put on a little "show" in front of what they think is his truck. It isn't, it belongs to another trucker who promptly records the entire thing and uploads it immediately.
Jerkass: Fuller in the first movie, Nik in the second movie; hell, it seems like half the protagonists in all three movies are assholes.
My Car Hates Me: In all three movies the protagonists' car gives them trouble (like having a flat tire after they had put some distance between them and Rusty and therefore allowing Rusty to catch up).
Metallicar Syndrome: Averted in the second movie and third movies, there aren't too many silver 71 Chevrolet Chevelles on the road and that makes it rather easy for Rusty to track the group. The racing team's customized Subaru Impreza in the third is also hard to miss.
The group in the second movie break into a house after their car breaks down and end up stealing a beautifully restored classic muscle car from the barn. Said house and car belong to Rusty, who takes it about as well as you would expect.
In the opening of the third movie two meth-heads think it is a good idea to lure a trucker to their hotel room so they can rob him. Unfortunately for them, said trucker is Rusty Nail.
Not Quite Dead: Rusty in every film's ending seems to have been killed, but is later revealed to be alive.
Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Rusty's motivation in all three movies. First one was to make Fuller and Lewis pay for the little incident at the hotel. The second one was for the group breaking into his house and stealing his car. The third was for the Austin nearly running him off the road while showing off.
Scare 'Em Straight: While perhaps not the true intent of the film, it does serve as a warning to would-be pranksters that they should be careful who they mess with and when to stop.
Tagline: It started as a joke. Now the joke is on them.
Serial Killer: Rusty Nail, by the events of Dead Ahead, which has him pick up and kill a prostitute in the opening, and he is implied to have killed a female hitchhiker in the epilogue.
Shameful Strip: To teach the boys what it's like to feel humiliated and to distract them while he kidnaps Venna, Rusty blackmails them into entering a diner nude and ordering a dozen cheeseburgers each.
Schmuck Bait: In the third film Rusty forces two meth-heads who tried to rob him to ride on the front of his truck with their wrists chained to the drive axle. If they let go the chain will slacken, get caught in the U-joint and wrap around the axle, dragging them under the truck. Rusty promises them that if they can hold on for a mile he will not only let them go but give them a bag of meth which, he promptly tapes to the truck's windshield and if they try to grab it the chain will slacken. Three guesses what happens.
Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Said by Mickey to Jordan in the third movie when he forces them to stop and gets out of the car. Unfortunately, he runs into Rusty while walking down the road.
Tempting Fate: When Rusty asks for an apology for the prank, Fuller responds instead with a diatribe. This results in an Oh, Crap when Rusty implies he's behind them by commenting on their burned-out tail light.
Too Dumb to Live: The meth heads in the third movie, the crushing of the cell-phones in the second, Fuller's insulting diatribe towards Rusty when they already know he is not somebody to mess with, hell there is usually at least three or four examples in each movie.
Toxic Friend Influence: Fuller pressures his brother into pretending to be a girl on the radio to prank a stranger.
Fuller: Get him goin', get him all worked up, and then in the middle of it, say 'Hey guess what! I'm a dude!' Come on, man, it'll be fun!