Ride Baby Ride

Directed by Sofie Somoroff and starring a limited cast with the highlight being Celina Bernstein as our terrorized heroine. RIDE BABY RIDE is a short film that is more than the 7-minute runtime would have you believe. If you’re a fan of 80’s style horror akin to CHRISTINE (the most obvious comparison, but oddly, during a Q&A with the director, she revealed she had not seen the classic haunted car film, which kind of makes it even better that she nailed the tone so well), and EVIL DEAD with one scene in particular a poignant homage. RIDE BABY RIDE is one of those shorts that hits all the notes perfectly and leaves you wanting more.

The story is about a young mechanic who is trying to buy a classic Camaro from two guys. This isn’t in some sort of sanitized car showroom; this is buying a car right from someone’s driveway. It becomes clear during the negotiation that the two men are interested in more than just leveraging the young woman for more money. After a tense series of back-and-forth cuts, each closing in more and revealing sinister intentions from the men…the movie cuts away. There have been times when I’ve seen this tactic in other movies and been annoyed, shouting “just show us already!” but in this particular case, I didn’t find it important for that scene to continue. It conveyed the inherent misogyny of a woman working what is traditionally a man’s job, negotiating like a man would be seen doing, and standing up to these strangers, alone, while still maintaining her strength and femineity. There wasn’t anything more that needed to be shown, because the movie said everything. The next scene is of her working on the car in her shop; a great jump cut that keeps the story flowing.

The transition into this next scene also changes the film tonally. There is a brief feeling of relief as you see Bernstein’s character unharmed. But with that respite comes a new form of tension. Are the men going to come back? Is there someone else stalking this young woman? This is where the movie transitions to the CHRISTINE reference points. The cinematography throughout the entire haunted car sequence is fantastic and really evokes that mid-80’s horror aesthetic, especially if you’re a fan of older metal music videos. The sound and lighting all compliment the cinematography well and the whole endeavor looks like a much larger budget film than it probably was. How does our heroine get herself out of the horrific situation and defeat this demon mobile? That’s for you to see at your local film festival or hopefully at some point streaming online or part of an anthology series.

The great thing about going to film festivals, genre festivals in particular, is that you get the opportunity to see these gems like RIDE BABY RIDE that aren’t playing at fests like Tribeca or Sundance. You can really tell that the folks at Panic Fest really understand their audience when programming films like this, and directors like Sofie Somoroff should be prepared for a deluge of attention and future fans of her work if her future projects are even remotely similar in style and substance as RIDE BABY RIDE.

Ride Baby Ride
Reviewed as part of Panic Fest 2024
Ride Baby Ride | August 19, 2023 (United States) Summary: After an unbearably creepy negotiation with some skeevy car guys, a mechanic has to fight off a demonic monster inhabiting her dream 1978 Camaro.
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English

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