Dark Ride is the only After Dark Horrorfest movie I saw in theaters, so it has been over four months since I watched the film. The movie certainly has a low budget feel to it in some ways, it holds up pretty well and actually features a relatively recognizable cast (the daughter from "The Sopranos" and the fat kid from "The Sandlot", who looks exactly the same as he did when he was little).
Dark Ride follows a group of college kids who go on a road trip and end up breaking into a haunted house ride at a nearby carnival (not before picking up an extremely hot hitchhiker). Pot smoking, alcohol drinking and blow jobs ensue, but little do they know that they've snuck into a ride that was once the site of a mass killing by a deranged killer. Conveniently, the killer has just recently broke out of prison and has returned home, and is waiting to murder a bunch of unsuspecting innocents.
Dark Ride is your pretty standard slasher flick, and while not great, it certainly has its moments. The bloodshed is quite good, especially in a death scene where a girl who is giving a guy pleasure gets decapitated without the guy knowing it. The atmosphere of the film is rather spooky, though the movie itself only offers a couple really effective scares. Still, the killer is quite creepy (if not a complete rip-off of Jason).
The movie does take its time to get going, as there is a surprisingly large amount of build-up before the main group of killings begin. Once the college kids start getting picked off one by one, the other problem rears its ugly head: every character follows the standard cliché. They run up the stairs when they should run down, they scream when they should be quiet, and so on and so forth. One of the females spends her whole time crying, and after a while it just gets old (grow some balls and fight back!). Another issue is that the characters seem to run all over what appears to be a pretty large ride, but in reality the whole building probably wouldn't be very big.
If you like slasher flicks, Dark Ride has enough thrills and blood to satisfy, but lacks any originality or cleverness to take it to the next level. The performances are okay, but some smarter writing could have made this a memorable movie.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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