After his girlfriend Jessica (Erika Christensen) pretends to break up with him to surprise him with his birthday party, art student Alan (Jonathan Jackson) tries to commit suicide and is only stopped by the arrival of said surprise guests. When he leaves the hospital, things don’t get much better: instead of going to the John Lennon concert Jessica got him tickets for, Alan is informed that his mother (Barbara Hershey) had a stroke and is in the hospital. Alan decides to hike back home to visit her, but the night he spends on the road is more than a little off.
I rather liked Riding the Bullet. It’s certainly not the best at anything, but it does have some nice visuals and a very decent cast.
I haven’t read the novella this film is based on but judging from the film, it is probably not the best thing King has ever written. But it is very notably King (maybe even too much so) – from structure to themes. And if you like the usual King stuff, you’ll like the film as well which does a good job at bringing that style to the screen.
It does so with some very nice images, especially when it comes to Alan starting to see things on the street as he travels. There is one particular moment where a school bus drives by that stood out for me especially, but there were quite a few other moments as well. Also, theme park are great locations for horror movies, but we probably all knew that already anyway.
Despite the good things, the movie doesn’t really manage to get much above average. The story is not original enough, the characters aren’t deep enough, the ending is too cheesy. But there is enough there that will keep you entertained for an evening.