If you've ever stopped at a highway rest area, there is
a good chance you have seen writing on the walls of the bathroom stalls - some vulgar, some just plain stupid. Some say, "Some
come here to sit and think, some come here to shit and stink, but I come here to itch my balls, and read the writing on the
walls," while others say, "This toilet paper is like John Wayne. Tough as nails and dont take shit off nobody."
Well, the makers of Rest Stop: Don't Look Back left their scribblings right on the cover of their DVD box, and they wrote
one word too many. It should read: Rest Stop: Don't Look. The movie begins with a flashback to the 1970s where a man who simply
goes by The Father (Michael Childers) and his family - The Mother (Diane Salinger), freaky twins (Edmund and Gary Entin),
and a deformed midget named Scotty (Mikey Post) who likes to take polaroids - are driving along the road in a Winnabego when
a man (Brionne Davis) with a broken down truck flags them down hoping for a ride to a gas station.
The movie begins with a flashback to the 1970s where a man who simply goes by The
Father (Michael Childers) and his family - The Mother (Diane Salinger), freaky twins (Edmund and Gary Entin), and a deformed
midget named Scotty (Mikey Post) who likes to take polaroids - are driving along the road in a Winnabego when a man (Brionne
Davis) with a broken down truck flags them down hoping for a ride to a gas station. After giving him a ride, the family stops
at a rest stop for a barbecue where the preacher finds the man enjoying his wife. The Father goes mad and starts to torture
the man, which leads to the birth of The Driver (and Rest Stop).
Fast forward to the present and Tom Hilts (Richard
Tillman) is back from the Iraq war with only one goal in mind: finding his brother Jess (Joey Mendicino) and his friend Nicole
(Julie Mond), who have been missing ever since they ran away from home one year before (this is where seeing the 2006 flick
Rest Stop kind of helps). This, of course, leads to a road trip for Tom and his very pretty yet somewhat slutty girlfriend,
Marilyn (Marilyn Culver), and some random nerdy kid named Jared (Graham Norris), who is apparently in the film to add some
sort of comic relief (although he never does outside of the time The Driver slams his yellow truck into a Port-o-Potty, thus
covering him in all sorts of human waste). It also leads more murder and mayhem at the hands of The Driver (who is apparently
dead, and only alive because his eyes are still in the Winnebago of a family that apparently no longer exists since The Driver
killed them, too). There's also an awkward sex scene in a motel, some terrible chemistry between people who supposedly know
one another, some terrible dialogue, and a lot of torture (and I am not talking about the things The Driver puts these idiots
Pretty much the only thing I can give director Shawn Papazian and writer John Shiban credit for is somehow
coercing a lot of the original cast members to come back and maintain some form of continuity between the 2006 flick and this
one. I also give them credit for trying to come up with a story for a sequel that could actually be good if the script was
better, the villain was scarier, the plot made sense, the killers' motives were a little clearer, there was a cast of actual
actors, and the death scenes were more elaborate or actually mean something. Oh, no, The Driver loosely tied Tom to a table
inside a school bus and inserted screws into his leg. How ever will he survive? Sure, it's painful, but this is a horror film,
not the game Operation where The Driver makes the patient buzz (or scream) when he continues to hit the wrong spot.
Horror movies are supposed to cause goose bumps on your skin, make you cringe at the sight of blood, or make you jump and
scream when you feel the evil force approaching. Rest Stop: Don't Look Back makes you want to go to the bathroom, fill a paper
bag with your own excrement and leave it on the filmmakers' doorstep lit on fire, especially considering that is pretty much
what they do. They put a flaming bag of poop on your doorstep and by watching this film, you're the idiot that steps on the
flaming bag of poop without shoes on.
This is a horror flick, but I was not scared once. So, a driver with half
a tongue and a yellow truck is driving around and torturing people with a drill. Who the heck cares? If I'm going to sit through
an 89-minute horror flick, I really don't want to be laughing uncontrollably at the ending. It is pathetic! I mean seriously,
I could have been doing something more entertaining, like knitting an oversized sweater for an unborn niece or nephew, watching
paint dry, watching my Chia Pet grow, or watching an entertaining movie made by people with talent. The script is awful and
the chemistry between the characters is even worse. Tom and Marilyn talk to one another like it's the first time they've been
together, and their sex scene is about as uncomfortable to watch as it would be to perform those very acts in front of my
parents. Sure, she has a great body and sex is a good way to try to convince people that they care for one another, but the
guy was at war for a year and she seems about as excited to see him as she would her aunt. The killer is boring. He drives
his truck around, stalking people at a rest stop. The nerdy kid is really just a horny loser. He's so desperate, he has sex
with a ghost who has a license plate number carved into her stomach, a dirty bra, disheveled hair, dried blood and bruises
all over her body, and she doesn't even say his name mid-coitus. What a turn on!
Papazian tries to give the movie
style by taking artistic shots of a bull's skull nailed to a wood post while the clouds zoom by in the background. He tries
to create horror with sight rather than feeling, and that is where so many horror films - not just this disaster - go wrong.
Just because you have a killer willing to kill random people in cruel ways does not mean you have a scary movie. It means
you have a guy killing good-looking people (because that is all that is really cast for horror flicks today) for no reason.
Just because you have artistic shots of desolate areas does not mean you've set the mood for a scary movie. A scary movie
is made through the story, and while there is a well-intentioned effort to connect two movies with Rest Stop: Don't Look Back,
the end result is a laughable mess that feels more like a car zooming down the highway with no brakes.