Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Rest Stop 2: Don't Look Back

(Spoiler warning: this will, of necessity, discuss some plot points from the first Rest Stop movie. If you haven’t seen the first one, don’t read this if you don’t want to know what happened to some of the characters.)

I’m one of the few people who liked the movie Rest Stop, so I was looking forward to Rest Stop 2: Don’t Look Back. I enjoyed it about as well as the first one.

When the movie starts, it’s been a years since Nicole and Jesse disappeared. We know they’re dead, but the folks back home don’t. Jesse’s brother Tom is just back from the Iraq war, and he sets out to find what happened to his brother, along with Nicole’s best friend Marilyn, and his friend Jared, who satisfies the rule that in every horror movie, there must be one character who annoys the hell out of you. They retrace Jesse and Nicole’s path, even though there’s no way they would know which route they took. They find success when they run into a creepy convenience store operator, who directs them along the path to the rest stop where most of the first movie took place, giving them an ambiguous warning in the process.

The first movie concealed that it was a ghost story for most of the way, but the sequel has no reason not to be up-front about it. All the ectoplasmic characters from the first one are back, including the mysterious pickup driver and the weird fundamentalist family, and now Nicole and Jesse are haunting the area as well, which amps up the guilt quotient for the new characters.

The movie fills in some of the backstory about the driver and the weird family, and partially explains why they haunt the rest stop (although not why they kill those who pass by), and there is introduced a mystical way to defeat the ghosts, which gives the characters something to work for.

If you liked the first Rest Stop, I think you’ll probably like this one, too, and if you didn’t like the first one, you probably shouldn’t bother. The ending leaves open the possibility for further movies in the series, which is good or bad news depending on whether you like them.

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