Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31
  1. Turns out to be the most unnerving film of the year. Easy.
  2. 90
    If you're looking to have your nerves fried and your pulse pounded, this is your ticket to ride.
  3. 90
    Redoubtably hilarious as always, Zahn also lends his character unpredictable flashes of anger, pathos, and faint psychosis, even when the movie jumps the median from ticklishly discomfiting black comedy into by-the-numbers horror jolts.
  4. Terrific escapist fare, stylish, outrageous and compelling.
  5. Climb into this rig and you'll be sweating bullets.
  6. 88
    There is a kind of horror movie that plays so convincingly we don't realize it's an exercise in pure style. ''Halloween'' is an example, and John Dahl's Joy Ride is another.
  7. The potential for action never lets up; you never know what's coming around the next corner.
  8. A horror film that doesn't wear out a moment of its welcome.
  9. Zigzags across the conventions of genre, occasionally driving on the shoulders of black humor -- it's a road movie for the way we process suspense today.
  10. Skillfully crafted, flawlessly paced, intellectually challenging tension of classics like "Bad Day at Black Rock."
  11. 80
    The kicker is that Joy Ride is funny, too. In fact, it would be a superbly frightening entertainment if not for the way Dahl fixates, disturbingly, on sadistic details.
  12. 80
    Director John Dahl ("Red Rock West," "The Last Seduction") has a pronounced knack for snap reversals and out-of-the-blue shocks.
  13. Reviewed by: Joe Leydon
    Hot-wired, white-knuckle thriller.
  14. In noir, everybody's guilty, and that's one of the pleasures of Joy Ride. The three youngsters aren't exactly innocent.
  15. Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    The director, John Dahl, has no intention to baffle or obscure; his objective is to scare the living daylights out of you, or, more pertinently, the dying headlights.
  16. 75
    There's good pulp and bad pulp, and for most of its duration, Joy Ride is quality stuff.
  17. 75
    Joy Ride is also surprisingly funny, thanks mostly to Zahn.
  18. Joy Ride is plenty spooky but there's also plenty of comic relief -- mostly from the perennially goofy Zahn.
  19. 75
    Some of the plot twists don't really stand up to close scrutiny, but the sometimes over-the-top Joy Ride plows through them with such joyful glee, you don't really care.
  20. A really satisfying suspenser, but also really, really fun.
  21. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    It's a snazzy, smartly made, and even hip little scarefest. As a jump-start to Halloween, it's all you could hope for.
  22. Much more effectively terrifying than the usual overplotted, underwritten Hollywood thriller.
  23. There's plenty of scary pleasure to be had from this clever, compact thriller.
  24. Manages to be both astoundingly derivative and reasonably entertaining at the same time.
  25. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    Even at its best, Ride never survives its shaky opening hook.
  26. 60
    Pure, irrational, claustrophobic, gritty, unpretentious.
  27. 60
    The sequel-ready twist at the end is a letdown, but until then this is a neatly constructed nail-biter.
  28. 60
    Despite its few flaws, Joy Ride does take viewers on one hell of a ride. It's one of those rare films that manages to take an overused plot and breathe some sort of creativity into it.
  29. At some point in this endless thriller the suspense turns into an extremely unpleasant ordeal that Dahl doesn't know when to stop.
  30. 50
    Dahl, who really does know what he's doing when it comes to investing a scene with both heebies and jeebies, is a notch or two above most.
  31. 42
    The picture is pinched and predictable. Even with the immensely talented Steve Zahn, an actor who's known to steal scenes and, sometimes, save pictures, the movie is a yawn.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 76 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 37 out of 42
  2. Negative: 2 out of 42
  1. Jul 21, 2014
    Joyride is a thrill a minute road chiller that has terrific acting, action and genuine jump scenes. The movie
    is very tense and is perfect to
    watch on an evening in the dark with your friends. Full Review »
  2. Jun 25, 2014
    A relentless thriller in the style of halloween. The movie has twist after twist and the performances are stellar. Joyride is Paul Walker's best film next to Running Scared. The movie will grab your attention and rattle your senses until the unpredictable conclusion. Joyride is one of the smartest thrillers you will ever see. It is a fantastic ride you'll never forget. Full Review »
  3. Sep 7, 2014
    A proficiently made thriller with brilliant performances from Paul Walker and Steve Zahn.
    Full Review »