• Hard Ride To Hell

    Released by: Vivendi
    Released on: May 18, 2010.
    Director: Penelope Buitenhuis
    Cast: Miguel Ferrer, Brendan Penny, Laura Mennell, Katharine Isabelle
    Year: 2010
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    The Movie:

    A prologue set in the early 1900’s starts Hard Ride To Hell off when we see a group of horse riding Satanists lead by ‘Black Sombrero’ (Miguel Ferrera) open up an unlucky pregnant woman in praise of their dark master. With the existence of the Satanists now firmly established, we can cut to the present day where a group of fun loving teenager types are cruising around the middle of nowhere in a big, fancy recreational vehicle. Of course, these irritating teens soon run afoul of a gang of Satanists, the very same gang of Satanists that we saw in the prologue, only know they ride motorcycles instead of horses. They’re still really into human sacrifice and are still lead by ‘Black Sombrero’ though, so you know they’re not long for this world.

    Hard Ride To Hell is basically a really shitty remake of the seventies cult classic, Race With The Devil, in which Peter Fonda and Warren Oates drove around in an RV and squared off against a cult of Satanists. Because of the very obvious similarities between the two films, it’s really almost impossible not to compare this picture to the earlier one, and as soon as that happens, you realize, hey, this movie doesn’t Warren Oates or Peter Fonda to save it, and Miguel Ferrer, as cool as he might be, just isn’t going to do the trick. Once that sets in, the other weaknesses become more and more obvious and before you know it, you’re picking apart the film and the movie really doesn’t stand a chance.

    To the picture’s credit, there are a couple of moderately well done gore scenes and a fair bit of bloodshed, though it never gets so messy that it’ll really appeal to the gorehounds out there. As mentioned, Ferrer is alright as the main cult leader and he’s got an appropriately sinister screen presence that he definitely milks fairly effectively here. Another plus is the presence of Katharine Isabelle, better known as the hot one from Ginger Snaps and the foxy redhead who got naked in Freddy Vs. Jason (or so we thought, she used a body double). She doesn’t have all that much to do here but she’s fun to look at.

    The film moves along at a so-so pace, starting off with a strong opening scene and trying to keep tension up throughout the film with only middling success. The problem is, it’s just not really very well acted outside of Ferrer’s bad guy. There’s little to no character development here and the characters are paper thin, so this has got to have more to do with the script than with any one specific performance, but that doesn’t change things. The effects are of the low budget CGI variety which definitely takes away from a few of the scenes that could have actually had some impact and yeah, there’s the whole ‘been there, done that’ vibe that is nigh-impossible to shake. As such, there’s really not a whole lot to recommend here. As far as mindless entertainment goes, it’s passable, but nothing more than that.


    Hard Ride To Hell arrives on DVD in a 1.78.1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. There's a little bit of shimmering evident on the picture but aside from that it looks quite good. There aren't any issues with mpeg compression artifacts nor are there any problems with print damage, dirt, or debris. Color reproduction looks nice and accurate and skin tones appear quite lifelike, though at the beginning of the movie the image has had some color tweaking here and there to give it more of a period feel. There are some scenes that show some edge enhancement but thankfully it's not a constant problem, rather a sporadic one. Aside from that, the movie looks fine, though the transfer is interlaced.

    Audio options are supplied in English language Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound with no optional provided. The audio quality is pretty good on this release with the dialogue staying clean and clear throughout the film. It's never a problem understanding the performers and the levels are all properly balanced. Surrounds are used well during the battle sequences and towards the end where the evil dog actually appears.

    Aside from some trailers for other Vivendi DVD releases and a static menu with chapter stops, this release is completely barebones.

    The Final Word:

    Hard Ride To Hell isn’t scary, or really all that interesting – in fact, it’s pretty bad. Vivendi’s DVD is light on extras but it looks and sounds pretty decent but as to the movie itself, unless you’re the world’s number one Miguel Ferrer fan, you can probably life quite contently without ever needing to see this one.