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Hard Ride to Hell (2010)

Director: Penelope Buitenhuis
Starring: Miguel Ferrer, Kathryn Isabelle, Brent Stait, Brendan Penny, Laura Mennell, Brandon Jay McLaren, Sebastian Gacki
Not Rated 94 min.

In this silly direct-to-video horror/action flick, a group of travelers in an RV run afoul a demented gang of devil-worshipping bikers. Their leader, Jefe (Miguel Ferrer), is an immortal brujo so evil that even Aleister Crowley wanted nothing to do with him. Jefe is looking for a Miss Right to bear his demon baby, a child that will ultimately go on to take over the world. But rather than go the subtle, seductive route, Jefe and his gang ambush travelers on lonely desert roads, rob them, rape them, and then eat them. Among the group of doomed travelers is a woman (Laura Mennell) who has recently suffered a miscarriage, and may have permanently lost the ability to bear children. Human children, that is. Jefe takes a shine to the woman, and thinks she might be that special lady that could be his demon baby mama. Her companions, however, will have to survive the gang’s cannibalistic onslaught.

There’s a lot of really dumb things going in HARD RIDE TO HELL. Stupid dialogue, weak acting, and a story that rips off a half-dozen other movies, with RACE WITH THE DEVIL being the most obvious influence. It also has the look and feel of a movie that, with a little editing, would be right at home on the Syfy Channel. While the movie approaches TOOTH & NAIL levels of stupidity, unlike that movie, HARD RIDE TO HELL actually ends up being fairly entertaining. If you can make it through the painful first act, the movie gets much more lively once the cannibal-devil-bikers attack the campsite. The violent action scenes are done well enough to make you overlook the fact that the bikers look like a group of pro wrestlers and masked stuntmen, which they probably are. The movie maintains a zippy pace from this point on to its over-the-top and appropriately ridiculous conclusion. It was interesting to see Miguel Ferrer playing a more overt heel, rather than the weasely, conniving types he’s played in the past. While I can’t say he’s especially convincing as the immortal villain, he’s still a fun actor to watch, and is much better than the material deserves. The scene-stealer here is Brent Stait as Bob, a special forces commando turned traveling knife salesman. Stait brings a very fun element to the movie as the genial badass who ends up being the only person keeping the campers from becoming satanic biker chow. Kathryn Isabelle, as Kerry, is mainly required to act scared for most of her screentime, which she does very well, and looks pretty cute doing it.

I’ll never convince anyone that HARD RIDE TO HELL is a good movie, because it’s not. However, it’s one of those movies, like SIMON SAYS, that manages to be an entertaining train wreck IF you can put your brain on standby for an hour and a half. I enjoyed it, but I can’t help to wonder what it could have been if a little more attention went into the writing. 2.5 out of 5

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