Tom, the older brother of the first film’s victim Jesse, sets out on a road trip to try to find out what happened to his brother. Unfortunately, he finds out.
When the movie starts, a hapless soul is picked up after his truck runs out of gas. His ride is, unfortunately, from the same psychotic family from the first movie. To remind you, there is the wacked out mother, the over-zealous religious father, two sons who are dressed as creepily as possible in suits and the deranged, mongoloid little midget creature son. The hitchhiker makes three mistakes: (1) he mentions the reason he ran out of gas is because he got wasted the night before, (2) he is caught having sex with the mother in the RV, and (3) he was picked up hitchhiking by the deranged family. Of course, the fact that the actual serial killer in the yellow truck took aim on this family following that was a bit surprising – at first.
The first Rest Stop was a phenomenon when Raw Feed released it as their first straight to DVD production and it went on to become one of the most successful DTV horror films in history. The fact that no one really seemed to like it makes its success quite a surprise. Raw Feed would improve with each subsequent release from Sublime to Believers to the fantastic 2007 release Otis. The sequel to Rest Stop would prove a small step back for the company.
Corporal Tom Hicks is the older brother of the first film’s victim Jesse and has just returned home from the war. It has been one year since his little brother disappeared and he is determined to set out to find what happened to him. His girl friend Marilyn tries to explain that Nicole (the other victim from the first movie) was her best friend and she would have called if she wanted to be found. It is dialogue like that which makes you not care about her character at all.
Richard Tillman (Tom) is a low-rent Matthew Fox. Graham Norris (Jared) is no more than a copy of Shaggy from Scooby Doo. Jessie Ward (Marilyn) is the worst type (or maybe the best kind) of horror victim – the bitch you want to die.
The story goes into a little more detail about the killer in the yellow truck detailing some of the unanswered questions left hanging from the first film. I will say the most interesting part of the original film was the addition of a ghostly haunting to the torture porn genre. However, the ghostly haunting at a rest stop was done much better in 2005’s fun independent horror film Reeker. With a movie that is a step below solid torture porn and can’t even match supernatural offerings of the same DTV horror genre, neither the original nor the sequel stand up.
The movie moves at a nice, quick pace but nothing in the movie really feels like it is worth watching. Even the supernatural aspects fail to excite since they happen so often it isn’t a surprise anymore. They drift in and out and give us the return of the original films “stars” but by this time, who really cares? There are a large number of torture porn scenes involved but they are edited so you don’t really see anything.
I also can’t stand the fact that the characters in both Rest Stop movies are dumber than even the most idiotic eighties slasher victim. In the first movie, Nicole couldn’t make a smart, live preserving decision to save her life. With one of the new victims a corporal in the military, this is inexcusable but the screenwriter chooses to make the victims dumb to keep them in danger the entire movie. The victims are people we don’t care about, and want to die, but they should at least have a semblance of intelligence. It isn’t until the end when Tom puts his military training to use that it comes full circle.
I do like how the Rest Stop bathroom remains a ghost as well, slipping into and out of the past. That’s about it. This movie is a cash-in on an unexpected success and sets Raw Feed’s productions back, marking a distinct departure from the original, inventive offerings of the last few years. It’s not worth the time to watch unless you are one of the few fans of the original feature. For you few, much is explained such as who is and who isn’t ghosts. The twist with the killer at the end is ridiculous and makes no sense, although I do understand it is circular, a never ending purgatory. The final twist is a classic mind fuck and brings the score up slightly.
Commentary with director Shawn Papazian and writer/producer John Shiban – They let us know the reason the killer does what he does is because the more he hurts and tortures people, the more he is saving their soul. Ok, then. The two pretty much give scene specific commentary, talking about what we are seeing and what it means. They also mention that the family, the driver and the rest stops must have been in cahoots. No shit. They also talk about the possibility of a trilogy, God help us.
Doomed to Repeat: The Mythology of Rest Stop (12:21) – “Rest Stop 2 is much more of a ghost story than the first one.” With that quote we have a short feature where they mention they believed they were making a different kind of movie here. They also compared the driver in the yellow truck to Freddy and Jason. They also compared him to the shark in Jaws. Wow. Don’t watch this before you watch the movie because it gives away every twist and turn in the story.
Alternate Ending (00:56) – This end remains the same but extends it to show its effect on the parents of Tom and Jesse.
Deleted Scenes (10:29) – The first scene sucks. The rest of them give more screen time to The Family, which is not really a bad thing. The third finally connects the killer, the family and the gas station attendant. I would guess it was removed so not to spoil one of the twists at the end. It is pretty disgusting (in a good way) in how it shows the families literal translation of the Bible.
Raw Feed Trailers – Rest Stop, Sublime, Believers, Otis, Rest Stop: Don’t Look Back and Alien Raiders.