"smart and somewhat original idea"
Modern technology which is so often designed to make life simpler and easier (and arguably better) is also a tool that lends itself to filmmakers destined to examine the darker side of humanity. While Skype, Facebook, Webcams and the like have been a cornerstone of many found footage horrors, plus films like Halloween: Resurrection, Unfriended and Friend Request, Ryde takes its initial idea from the taxi like app Uber.
It opens with some heavily stylised editing, music and cinematography that sets up the stylish L.A. world that the films characters inhabit. Even one-night stands are exotically romantic – at least at first. For Paul (David Wachs) whom we meet early on soon turns out to be a man with a lust for death and when he learns of the ryde app, which allows users to book a ride home on their smart phone, he uses it to his own murderous advantage.
Initially, this is a simple and terrifying set-up bringing up some frightening ideas about never truly knowing who is in the back or front seat of a random taxi or minicab. It evokes memories of Taxi Driver and Collateral but where those films managed to develop beyond the initial set-up, Ryde simply fails to build on it.
The idea simply has nowhere to go and the nature of the film becomes episodic at best and repetitive at worst, even despite the slender running time.
There are some decent moments at the start (including one extreme decapitation), especially when you’re not entirely sure exactly what is going on or how things are going to unfold.
Yet as events do continue, Ryde fails to develop, with even the ending (which will come as no surprise to anyone who has seen a slasher film) leaving the slight plot somewhat open. A smart and somewhat original idea, but the script of Ryde is little more than that.