Directed by Brian Frank Visciglia
An EMT with a passion for murder decides to pose as a Ryde taxi driver, spying it as the perfect cover role to find fresh meat to slaughter in the dimly lit streets of L.A.
Brian Frank Visciglia’s debut feature film RYDE preys upon the fears that lurk in the public’s day-to-day life. Would you get in a car with a stranger? The answer is most likely “no”. But many do, every single day, when they get inside a taxi. I’m not just talking about punters either. Taxi drivers themselves put theirselves at risk with every pickup because who knows who’s sitting in that backseat.
In this slickly shot horror, maniac Paul is quietly prowling the city of L.A. looking for victims to slaughter. His first one comes to him without much persuading but after a ride in the backseat of a car operated by Uber-esque private hire taxi company Ryde, he spies the opportunity to add more victims to his list. This premise pretty much sets up the rest of the film as we follow Paul attending various pick-ups and questioning whether his passengers will become his next victims. Upon first impressions, it seems like Paul hasn’t got a preferred choice and that pretty much anyone is fair game but it soon becomes apparent that he does seem to pick and choose as those with loose morals or showcasing the slightest bit of attitude quickly become his prey. Not one to be caught, however, he also does a fine job of disposing of anyone who may be standing in his way.
Even though the movie sounds pretty straightforward, it’s presented in such a compelling fashion that it’s hard to look away from the screen. David Wach oozes silent menace as Paul, a man who can go from pleasant to deranged pyscho in a blink of an eye. His good looks help to lure his victims in and often he seems to quite enjoy the sexual nature of the engagements he has with others until the bubble prematurely bursts with a flick of the switch. Many of the scenes with scantily clad ladies look like they might lead somewhere but before any foreplay can really begin, Paul’s penchant for murder kicks in. The seduction technique is just a cover for his real intentions, his real turn-on – murder. In many ways, his character reminds me of Zachary Quinto’s Sylar in Heroes with them both seemingly quiet individuals with murder on their mind. The fact they share a slight resemblance also reinforces that idea.
Ryde is quite a hard-hitting movie… literally. Paul is such a violent character that when the beatings come, they are relentless and realistic. Anyone is fair game and Paul doesn’t hesitate to unleash his fury albeit with a knuckle duster, barefist or with an American History X-style stomp. It’s quite hard to watch sometimes but fortunately most of the abuse happens off camera with the viewer only having to endure Paul’s intense expression being splattered by his victim’s blood.
An assault on the senses, Visciglia’s debut is an outstanding one that shows so much style and storytelling promise from the director. If he can conjure up such a tightly-shot, slickly edited piece of work like this on his first attempt at a feature film, I cannot wait to see what else he has in store for the future.
Ryde is available to watch on Digital Download from 21st August 2017.