Riding the Bullet (2004) - Rotten Tomatoes

Riding the Bullet2004

Riding the Bullet (2004)



Critic Consensus: Stephen King adaptation veteran director Mick Garris has lofty storytelling goals which ultimately flail and undercut the story's terror.

Riding the Bullet Photos

Movie Info

A young man who has flirted with death is forced to come to terms with mortality in this tale of terror based on a story by Stephen King. Alan Parker (Jonathan Jackson) is a college student studying art at the University of Maine in 1969. Cursed with an over-active imagination, Alan constantly obsesses over the worst outcome of any situation, and when he begins to suspect his girlfriend, Jessica (Erika Christensen), is thinking of leaving him, it drives him to the brink of suicide. Shortly after this brush with death, Alan receives word that his mother, Jean (Barbara Hershey), has suffered a severe stroke and may not pull through. Alan grabs his jacket and hits the road, hoping to hitchhike the one hundred miles to the hospital. As it happens, Alan is trying to catch a ride on Halloween night, and after he's picked up by one George Staub (David Arquette), he realizes that he's riding the highway with a creature not of this Earth. Riding the Bullet was directed by Mick Garris, marking the fourth time the filmmaker has brought one of King's stories to the cinema or television screen.

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Jonathan Jackson
as Alan Parker
David Arquette
as George Staub
Barbara Hershey
as Jean Parker
Erika Christensen
as Jessica Hadley
Barry W. Levy
as Julian Parker
Nicky Katt
as Ferris
Jeff Ballard
as Adolescent Alan
Howard Kaylan
as Apple Man
Peter LaCroix
as Mature Alan
Chris Gauthier
as Hector Passmore
Robin Nielsen
as Archie Howard
Matt Frewer
as Mr. Clarkson
Simon Webb
as Grim Reaper
Keith Dallas
as Orderly
Danielle Dunn-Morris
as Mrs. Janey McCurdy
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Critic Reviews for Riding the Bullet

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (7)

A ponderous, incoherent horror mishmash that turns King's short story into utter nonsense.

October 21, 2004
Top Critic

The movie is so glum and flat-footed there's no reason to care.

October 20, 2004 | Rating: 1.5/5 | Full Review…

Both the anticipation factor and writer-director Mick Garris' slick adaptation fail to live up to the old hype.

October 19, 2004

A better name for the film would be Taking the Bullet, because that's what sitting through this dopey, pretentious mess feels like.

October 14, 2004 | Rating: 1.5/5

It's a navel-gazing meditation on death smothered under excess and ham-handed direction, better suited for late-night cable.

October 14, 2004 | Rating: C- | Full Review…

A barely coherent fever dream of automotive anxiety.

October 14, 2004

Audience Reviews for Riding the Bullet

Riding the Bullet was Stephen Kings "depressed phase" work I assume. lol

Wahida K
Wahida K

Super Reviewer

I liked this Stephen King adaptation of his short story taken from 'Everything's Eventual', the author's most recent collection. Mick Garris ('The Stand', 'The Shining (TV)') has not strayed too far from the path with this macabre tale of a hitchhiker who is offered rides from a handful of weird and wonderful characters one Halloween night. The year is 1969 and Alan Parker (Jonathan Jackson) learns that his mother (Barbara Hershey) is dying of cancer, so instead of going to see Lennon and McCartney, the troubled teenager is forced to hitchhike back to his hometown. He is eventually offered a ride by a young man with a sinister secret. Parker is then forced to confront all the demons from his past if he is to survive what could be the last ride of his life. Like the original story, the film has all the makings of a campfire tale. There are lonely stretches of highway flanked by tall pine trees - roads that are interspersed with graveyards and other dark places one shouldn't venture into after the sun sets. There are carnivals and rollercoasters. There are plenty of laughs as well as scenes that will chill your soul to the bone. Even Death himself makes an appearance. Terrifyingly entertaining, 'Riding the Bullet' will also make you question what really is important in life. Also stars David Arquette and Cliff Robertson.

Cassandra Maples
Cassandra Maples

Super Reviewer

Adapting Stephen King's internet released novel shows that anything King will be adapted. Riding the Bullet is a bit like The Dead Zone, in that it has a very episodic narrative. Jackson goes hitchhikes from car to car, with each driver being weird and creepy. Each driver also makes Jackson confront a part of himself. It's a repetitive formula that gets tiresome. It also has the last driver being David Arquette who goes a bit too crazy and borders on comical. Robertson is the best, he's slightly peculiar and unsettling. It's the only real time that the enclosed space and lack of real escape becomes scary. Decent enough, but should have been shorter.

Luke Baldock
Luke Baldock

Super Reviewer

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