Rest Stop

This past holiday season was a wonderland for food-lovers such as myself: the dinners, the drinks, leftovers and especially the cookies. They are the perfect dessert,  tasty and easy to make; just add ingredients, moosh them all together, grab your favorite cookie cutter, punch out the happy shapes and enjoy.

Rest Stop is the movie version of holiday cookies. However, istead of sugar, flour, eggs and chocolate chips, this cookie is crafted from a humdrum plot, conventional acting and predictable outcome all squashed together and pressed into a cute, tiny package. Now, all that being said, it wasn’t a bad movie; but pleasingly standard. It keeps in the vein of the lovable slasher films from the late 70’s and early 80’s. Twenty-five years ago, this movie would have been a classic.

With dreams of making it big in Hollywood, Nicole (Jaimie Alexander), and her hot shot boyfriend, Jess (Joey Mendicino),  hit the open road on their way to stardom. After a quick ‘pit stop’, the couple soon becomes targeted by a mystery driver with a serious case of road rage. As with all road trips,  nature soon calls, so as expected, they pick the worst possible rest stop to utilize. Nicole does her business and finds that Jess has gone missing and, at first, she believes it to be a cruel joke. She begins to find mysterious writings that tell of the tragic misfortune suffered by others at that rest stop. KLZ-303, a licence plate number, clever, is carved into the door and walls of the ladies restroom and stall. She begins to grasp the veracity of the situation as she becomes teased and hunted by KLZ-303. Will she become 304? He makes any chance of her escape impossible; he monitors the c.b. radio, the television, he even has some sort of relationship with a family that live in an RV at the rest stop.

Inspecting the mysterious writings again, Nicole begins to understand KLZ-303 has been slaughtering his victims at this very rest stop for decades. Oh yea, horror movies are supposed to have a psycho, religious, inbred family for no good reason aren’t they? Well, this one does.

Rest Stop does have it’s moments of heightened suspense and a handful of jump scenes which make it a fairly enjoyable flick but there are two particular scenes that, when they are over leave you, jaw open, scratching your head, asking “What just happened?” And not necessarily in a good way.

Writer/director John Shiban, whose most current works include T.V.’s The Legend of the Seeker, and film and T.V.’s X-files, tries to tell a scary “What if?” scenario for the average driver on today’s anonymous, American road ways. Driver beware: This road has plot holes.

Overall, it was descent.  I think there is a director’s cut out there, somewhere, that has a whole disc of commentary and special features. I would hope that the 2nd disc puts to rest, by explaination, the numbingly odd scenes and story line. In my opinion, however, Rest Stop is a perfect ‘date’ horror movie. It’s got enough Oomph to keep you watching,  and enough ‘Huh?’ to give you time to conversate with your partner about what to do after the movie.

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