top of page

Dark Ride (2006)

It's only upon recent reflection that I have realised how much I enjoy the straight to video Slasher films of the late 90's and early to mid 00's. Because of this, I have decided to compile a list of all the direct to home video B-movie greats that IMDB has to offer and see if I can find and tick off as many of them as I can, and first upon that list is 2006's amusement park themed 'Dark Ride'. As with most Slashers of this pedigree, we are introduced to our gang of teenage stereotypes. The resident 'movie expert' character, Bill, played by Patrick Renna is the only recognisable face in this film. His quick wit, consistent movie quotes and references was entertaining for the most part, if not slightly repetitive. The worst performance is easily Cathy played by Jamie-Lynn Sigler. Her performance as designated 'final girl' nearly comprises the whole film and it was a real struggle to invest emotional into her character. Everyone else does a serviceable enough job, but I wouldn't go out on a limb to say anyone was impressive enough to be considered noteworthy. The cinematography isn't the worst I have come across and for the most part holds up pretty well. The main issue lies with the very clunky editing and scene transitions. Often these cuts happen too abruptly. Making the simplest of scene changes so noticeable makes for a much less seamless watch. There is also heavy use of over dubbing, adding lines of dialogue in, post-production. It's really jarring as no effort is made to do this when the characters aren't looking directly towards the camera. I will say that the majority of these issues do take place within the first 30 to 40 minutes, or at least it was less noticeable after this point. With direct to video slashers like this, it's important to get two things right, the killer, and the kills. Firstly, the practical work and creativity that goes into the kills is clearly the main focus of the production. For instance, one of the first on screen kills, we see a man getting a flash light shoved through his stomach and then being pulled out leaving a perfect hole in the man's body as the camera pans through. This kill, along with all the others, are all done using practical effects and look very good given the budget limitations. I found this entertaining because it was so unexpected, given how bland I found everything else up until this moment. Secondly, the slasher villain we are introduced to is is rather intimidating, as far as low budget characters like this go. His attire is nothing particularly original, wearing a bloodied psychiatric ward issue uniform and a cherub doll face mask, a combination we have seen numerous times throughout this subgenre. The lore surrounding his character once again feels very unoriginal, but does a good enough job of providing convincing exposition and a legitimate reason for these characters all to be in the same location at the same time. However, it does run the risk of overly complicating its connection to certain characters with its twist reveal in the final act. As an overall production 'Dark Ride' is littered with flaws and firmly deserves its place as a straight to video release, and rightly so this is certainly not going to be a film enjoyed widely by the masses. However, if you're like me and late 90s to early 00's straight to video Slasher films are your thing, then there may be some enjoyment to be had for you. It shows some moments of potential and the majority of the practical work and creative kill sequences alone are worth checking out.



bottom of page