Devil Riders DVD Review
Directed by Julian Higgins
Written by Larry Madill, Julian Higgins and Bertie Higgins
2012, Region 2 (PAL), 97 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on 30th July 2012
Robert Thorne as Ray
Jasmine Waltz as Cheri Shaw
Bertie Higgins as Robert Cohen
J.D. Rudometkin as Allen Shaw
Debra Hopkins as Susan Cohen
Jay Wisell as Billy 'Bones' Eady
A pair of off duty lawyers have their mid-life crises interrupted when their wives are kidnapped by vicious bikers. Devil Riders describes itself as Easy Rider meets The Hills Have Eyes, but is actually more like the John Travolta and Tim Allen vehicle Wild Hogs (a guilty pleasure) meets The Devil's Rejects.
Silly RUBS (Rich Urban Bikers) Allen and Robert, in a fit of pique, buy motorcycles and drag their poor wives along Route 66 where they hope to take part in the annual Poker Run – a series of poker games played in different venues along the route. They are convinced to depart from the plan by tough bikers Ray and Billy, who invite the couples to join them on the road. As is almost always guaranteed to happen if you trust anyone in a horror film, their wives are kidnapped within about five minutes. It's impressive, managing to kidnap someone without so much as a car boot in sight. To get their spouses back, Allen and Robert must be prepared to jump through some very strange hoops for the bikers. And just what is Billy up to in the back of that van?
Devil Riders could very easily have been an unpleasant torture and rape fest as is the case with so many horror movies these days, but thankfully manages to (mostly) circumvent that – while still retaining a thoroughly unpleasant atmosphere of its own. It's almost reminiscent of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre in its madness, particularly during the scenes set in the back of Billy's van. “Cake makes everything better,” Billy enthuses in a manner that Nubbins 'Hitchhiker' Sawyer himself would be proud of. It's not as good as Tobe Hooper's seminal classic, but travels its own route enough to not feel like a rip-off. Of all its influences, it's actually most similar to the episode of The Simpsons in which Marge is kidnapped by a biker gang. Alas, Devil Riders does not end with the characters jousting with their motorcycles.
Devil Riders is a thrilling, violent and unsettling desert-bound shocker with a tightly wound story and tremendously unpleasant atmosphere. It recalls such minor classics as Breakdown and The Hills Have Eyes remake while having fun doing its own thing too. It's deliriously odd in places, with Ray having conversations with a dead man and an ending that has little to do with the preceding 90 minutes. It's a film in which Nicolas Cage's Ghost Rider wouldn't have been at all out of place.
In an age of straight to DVD horror where every other film is a backwoods cannibal movie, it's nice to see the subgenre tackle relatively virgin territory. Devil Riders isn't an easy ride, but it's well worth buckling up for.
Video and Audio:
It looks and sounds appropriately grimy. It's dark in places but not too dark.