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Horror film and its sequel about a deranged
truck driver, "Rusty Nail", who stalks and terrorizes some pranksters in his large and ominous Peterbilt
. The victims consist of anyone who annoys him, as well as a few random unlucky folks.
This film contains examples of:
- Action Girl / Action Girlfriend: Melissa in Joy Ride 2.
- Batman Gambit
- Booby Trap
- Car Fu
- Catch Phrase: "Candy Cane..."
- Completely Missing the Point: "When did you get out of jail, yesterday?"
- Deadly Prank
- Disproportionate Retribution: Steal Rusty's car? He'll kill you horribly. Insult truckers? Kill you horribly. Give him the finger? He'll take that finger. Then again, he kills some people horribly for no particular reason at all.
- Distressed Damsel: Venna in Joy Ride
- Drives Like Crazy
- Everyone Lives: Played straight in Joy Ride where all main cast members survive. But averted in other two movies.
- 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.
- Floating Head Syndrome
- Hollywood CB: Many times throughout the movie, the boys and their pursuer have inexplicable privacy on the radio.
- Lost in the Maize: The protagonists are chased by Rusty through a corn field.
- My Car Hates Me
- Not Quite Dead: Rusty in every movie ending is look like is finally killed, but turn out he is alive.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Rusty.
- Oh Crap
- Road Movie
- Scare Chord
- 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 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 Vena, Rusty blackmails them into entering a diner nude and ordering a dozen cheeseburgers each.
- Slasher Film: Joy Ride 2 and 3 turned in this.
- Slashers Prefer Blondes: Averted in Joy Ride 2 where blonde girl Melissa is movie Final Girl. But played straight in Joy Ride 3 where two blondes girls Candy and Jewel is killed
- 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.
- The Faceless: Rusty's face is always blocked by his cap. until Joy Ride 3 where his face is seen.
- 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!
- Unresolved Sexual Tension
- Vapor Wear