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Blu-ray Review: Rest Stop – Don’t Look Back

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There are some truly bad movies out there. The majority may have something of redeeming value, maybe one decent joke, a mildly memorable scene, or a character you enjoy. Rest Stop: Don’t Look Back offers nothing of the sort. It’s an abysmal, bottom of the barrel, completely unwatchable piece of junk.

The “torture porn” genre has slowly been growing recently, spurred on with stuff like Saw and Hostel. Rest Stop wants to be one of those films, but doesn’t offer anything remotely original to set it apart. The two brief torture scenes are hardly noteworthy, the gore factor is non-existent (although backgrounds offer loads of blood covering everything), and there’s no sense of fear or terror.

So what if it’s not original and the script feels like it's plagiarizing a number of other films? That could be tolerable. However, Rest Stop literally goes nowhere. The plot is incredibly cheap, one of its characters played by Jessie Ward is completely unlikable, and the story literally feels like it offers no progression. The story exists purely for the sake of its violence, and it doesn’t even deliver on that front.

If you’ve seen the original, this sequel picks up a year later, and you’ll be reminded of that multiple times. The two victims now have family and friends coming to look for them down one of those movie highways that could exist only in a film. The killer, a trucker brutally murdered by an insane religious cult, lives on through some stupid Indian curse that’s never fully explained. Apparently, some of the dead live on as ghosts (or something… it’s never stated), and can continue to suffer or kill.

The total body count is never really clear since the ending of course has to set up another sequel after this disaster. For a slasher/torture/horror movie, Rest Stops offers nothing the three genres are known for, nor does it try something radically different. This is a truly terrible movie that has no reason to exist. (No stars)

Style kills this Blu-ray transfer. The gritty look is fine, but obscures loads of expected detail. There’s no reason for this to be on hi-def. Contrast is overblown, and during the finale, it’s nearly blinding. The transfer is soft and unimpressive. Black levels only falter in a few scenes, and when they do they show off extensive video noise. Color is muted for effect, and in darker scenes (much of the film) the entire thing looks murky.

Warner chooses to give junk like this a TrueHD track, and yet Speed Racer is saddled with standard Dolby Digital? There is no justice in the world. The only time the rear channels get into the act is a brief round of gunfire near the end. Everything else is firmly in the front. Dialogue is mixed far too low compared to the action, so watch your volume control.

The DVD edition comes with a stack of extras while the Blu-ray comes with absolutely nothing. (No stars)

Although unconfirmed, it was reported that Warner was pushing the release date for the film until sometime in 2009. That’s not far enough. That said, it is still up for pre-order at most major websites, so the information was apparently faulty.

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About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years and is the reviews editor for Pulp365.com. His current passion project is the technically minded DoBlu.com. You can read Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki.