'Ryde': Film Review

Courtesy of Gravitas Ventures
Tinder is scarier.

A serial killer finds his victims through a ride-sharing app in Brian Visciglia's horror film.

As if paying total strangers to take rides in their cars wasn’t stressful enough, now come Brian Visciglia’s horror film that uses ride-sharing as its high-concept premise. Depicting the brutal activities of a serial killer after he assumes a driver’s identity and proceeds to murder his passengers, Ryde will make you think twice before tapping an app the next time you need to get somewhere.

We’re introduced to the central character, Paul (David Wachs) — who’s as handsome and chiseled as American Psycho’s Patrick Bateman, only without the fashion sense — as he meets a gorgeous woman in a bar who takes him home with her. But instead of making love, he stabs her, and thus the film courteously delivers nudity and gore to its target audience within the first 10 minutes or so. Paul then summons back their friendly “Ryde” driver (Kyle Thomas Schmidt) with whom he seems to strike up a friendly rapport. That is, until Paul kills him.

Getting behind the wheel and using the driver’s phone, Paul begins touring around nighttime Los Angeles, picking up partygoers and nightclubbers, most of them of the scantily clad female variety. During the course of his rounds, he proceeds to murder numerous victims, proving himself open-minded in his homicidal tastes by using a variety of methods including stabbing, garroting and, in a pinch, his fists. His riders are all quite vulnerable, including two sexy, underwear-clad women who make the mistake of inviting him to go swimming. Needless to say, it doesn’t go well for them.

Demonstrating that he possesses at least some empathy, Paul behaves concernedly toward one of his customers, Jasmine (Jessica Serfaty), whose boyfriend (Ronnie Alvarez), although presumably not a psycho killer, is so obnoxious that he actually makes Paul look appealing by comparison.

Although boasting impressive visual sheen, Ryde proves by-the-numbers horror. Its blank-faced villain is such a cipher that he makes the Terminator look animated by comparison, and the array of supporting characters, most of whom quickly wind up dead, are strictly one-dimensional. Failing to provide any backstory or psychological motivation for the killer’s actions, the film essentially devolves into torture porn. And as far as how it portrays women, let’s just say that the director treats them less kindly than his lead character. The ending makes it clear that a sequel will be forthcoming. If for some reason you feel the urge to see it, take a cab.

Production company: Vega Entertainment
Distributor: Gravitas Ventures
Cast: David Wachs, Jessica Serfaty, Ronnie Alvarez, Kyle Thomas Schmidt, Veronica Lauren
Director: Brian Visciglia
Screenwriters: Brian Visciglia, Dustin Frost, Kat Silvia
Producers: David Wachs, Ario Zag
Executive producer: Vikram Raju
Director of photography: David Rymar
Production designer: Danielle Lopez
Editor: Dustin Frost

86 minutes