Hey kids! Every wonder what happened to that fat freckled kid from “The Sandlot”? Or Jamie- Lynn Sigler after her fame of “The Sopranos”? Well 2006 gave us a portal to their career choices in the horror movie “Dark Ride”. Our frightening story takes place on the boardwalk at Asbury Park in 1989. Identical twin teenagers walk up to the Dark Ride. Outside there is a seedy looking carny and a boy playing chess. The carny asks “Round trip or one way?” clever stuff.
One of the girls is really into the whole horror scene and the kind of person I’d have a real laugh with. The other should not have come at all on the ride. She is obviously scared and looks like she’s about to cry. Her sister of course keeps mocking her. I hate people like that. Either you like horror or you don’t. It took me a long time to grow into it and until then I was a total wimp for a lot of things. But what you shouldn’t do is mock someone for not liking something you don’t like. Different strokes for different folks….said the critic.
Anyway back to the movie. The tough girl is literally grabbed right out of her chair. Instead of running the hell out of the ride like a mad woman the scared girl remains in her ride. She sees her sister has been gutted and put on display then the mad man goes for her. Next we fade to the credits and a montage of newspapers. Things say stuff like “14 bodies found in ride” and “Killer to be placed in Insane Asylum” and “Dark Ride To Open Again Soon.” maybe not in those exact words but enough that you get the gist. Oh and my favorite was “Spring Break Finally Here” must’ve been a slow news day.
Ten years later Cathy, played by Jamie-Lynn Sigler and her friend Liz are getting ready to go on Spring Break with their friends Bill, our friend from “The Sandlot” Patrick Renna, Steve and Jim. Guess they read the newspaper article. Jim is a creepy looking guy. Imagine if Biff from “Back to the Future” mated with a grouper fish. This guy had Innsmouth look written all over him. So they hope into their 70s decorated rape van and go on a road trip.
First stop is a gas station. Bill finds a pamphlet for the Dark House and this gets them into the idea. So they decide to head off on a wee detour to Ashbury Park. Meanwhile a few weeks ago according to a subtitle the killer from the murder is in the insane asylum cooling his heels watching static on TV in his cell. I didn’t know they gave you televisions in your cells in insane asylums. Though I bet that must be maddening itself because the screwball was in a straight jacket and they left it on static so unless he turns the channel with his teeth he is sort stuck between a rock and hard place.
A couple orderlies see on his chart “Vegetarian only” so they decide to mess with him. One of them happens to have a steak and he keeps hitting the poor asshole with it until he gets up snapping all the buckles on the straight jacket while the static on TV gives off the effects of a strobe light. He then massacres the guards and lumbers away. Back to his hide out in the Dark Ride.
The young adventurers have meanwhile picked up a young nubile hitchhiker girl. She seems a bit nutty and slutty but that is Jim’s type so she is welcomed aboard. They make it to the Dark Ride. Jim breaks inside and fiddles with the electricity getting it up and running. Everyone except Cathy goes into the ride. Cathy stays in the van. So everyone is wandering around the ride having many a jump scare when the hitchhiker tells Steve to follow her. He does so and she shows him Cathy with her throat slashed. He freaks out but it was just a gag. He is still pissed and gets mad at everyone for being in on since it was Bill’s idea. Turns out Bill’s cousins were the two twins that died out here and coming out here was his way of making closure….ok. Honestly, I don’t know what Steve is so pissed about. I’ve had jokes played on me and when they are good sometimes all you can do is appreciate how good your friends got you.
He goes to pout though. Everyone else finds out they are locked inside the ride. Jim goes to fix the power which keeps messing up and the others just wander around like morons. Soon Cathy and Liz find Steve dead and foul looking decorated as a grim marionette in the Ride. The Jim and the hitchhiker have decided to do their own thing. She is blowing him; of course he is such a half fish man to notice the killer decapitate her as she is doing this for a crude throwaway gag.
Everyone is running in different directions like idiots now. Liz gets killed off screen. We also get a security guard that comes in to find out what the commotion is. Cathy runs to him and like a total jerk just lets him die as the killer is right behind him because she says nothing. She takes the van and is about to book it to safety until she gets a text message from Jim that says HELP. So she drives through the ride hitting the killer and knocking onto a bed of spikes. Jim is glad to be alive. Bill comes out of hiding as well. Jim asks where he was and Bill stabs him with a knife.
It turns out Bill was that little kid playing chess outside the Dark Ride in the beginning. He was the killer’s little brother. Cathy gets out of the van runs outside crying loudly and we fade to black. That wasn’t a bad twist at least. Since every movie nowadays just HAS to have one to seem clever it’s nice when one works. Considering the rest of the movie is bucket of “who cares” that is a good endearing quality to this movie. I still don’t think it’s all that scary or interesting but don’t you feel better now that you know what became of those actors…..I know I sure do.