Leighton Meester - Mackenzie Carpenter
Nicholas D'Agosto - Fisher
Van De La Plante - Horny The Clown/Archie Benjamin
Melora Hardin - Marcia Carpenter
Lola Glaudini - Detective Chase
Larry Joe Campbell - Detective Crockers
Penn Badgley - Van
Morgan Spurlock - Hellaburger Manager
Genre - Horror/Slasher/Supernatural
Running Time - 91 Minutes
Score - 3 Howls Outta 4
This past weekend, I ate a No. 2 [two cheeseburgers, large fries, and a soda] from McDonalds. It had to be my first fast food meal in months, as I pretty much avoided the stuff while losing some weight. And damn, was it good. Now, I normally dig the burgers from Burger King. But when it comes to the overall package, you can't beat Mickey D's.
Unfortunately, what ruins the fast food company is its mascot: Ronald McDonald. It's no secret how much I loathe clowns. They're obviously evil foot soldiers of Satan's destruction. No one can smile and perform balloon animal tricks while wearing enormous amounts of make up and ridiculous clothes without having evil intentions. Ronald McDonald is no different. That charity he's running is probably to fund his sex dungeon for children who enjoy a Happy Meal a little too much.
Look, I can't prove that Ronald is a devious pedophile hiding his true self by warming himself into our hearts. But DRIVE THRU attempts to take the clown mascot from a foot food joint and show that they're not goody-two-shoes like they would want you to believe. Fast food clowns and horror should be the perfect combination. It's not, but it doesn't make DRIVE THRU any less entertaining for a B-movie.
Some wannabe rock chick named Mackenzie (Leighton Meester) isn't that big on her life in the O.C. Probably because Peter Galagher and his brows can't help her out of this jam. Seriously, the girl has a journalism career mapped out in front of her. Plus she has a boyfriend, Fisher (Nicholas D'Agosto), who's very loyal to her even when she denies him sex. Do guys like that even exist?
Anyway, Mac has bigger problems to think about when some maniac begins to murder her friends. It happens to be some jerk named Horny The Clown (Van De La Plante), who is the mascot for the Hella-Burger fast food chain, using the Freddy Krueger method of slashing to get the job done. Ironically, all the victims happen to be the children of parents who tormented Horny years ago. Will Mac be able to save her friends and herself from Horny? Or will the fat and cholesterol do these teens in first?
DRIVE THRU is one of those films I wasn't expecting a whole lot out of. I had read and heard reviews from people before watching the film and they were all pretty negative. I think only Siko/Mike and Kelsey had given it positive reviews. Since we three have very similar tastes, I figured I'd probably like DRIVE THRU as well. And not surprisingly, I enjoyed this film alot. It's a solid modern B-movie that's so cheesy that it's actually quite fun and entertaining to watch.
The story, as you can gather, isn't all that original. It's pretty much A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, but without any of the dream subtext and with a clown instead of a burnt freak with razor-sharp claws. And to this I say - THANK GOD! Finally, a horror film that doesn't rip off THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE! Hallelujah! That being said, you can expect the same type of twists you saw in ANOES in DRIVE THRU. The parents are pretty responsible for Horny's terror. Hell, they even burn the guy like the parents burnt Freddy. Then you have the killer get revenge on the parents through their children. It doesn't have a lot of depth and the characters aren't as developed as in Wes Craven's film, but it doesn't really hurt the film all that much. The script is simple to follow and the dialogue is pretty hip. The teenagers act like teenagers and the parents act like concerned parents. It was very refreshing. I do think the final act, which led to the reveal of Horny's identity, was a bit too wordy and it had a lot of exposition to the point where the film kind of took itself seriously [while the rest of the film doesn't take itself seriously at all]. It almost lost me for a minute there but at least the reveal made sense and it worked. And I wasn't a big fan of the ending either, which pretty much leaves it open for a next installment. It could have been more elaborated. Still, a decent screenplay by Shane Kuhn and Brendan Cowles.
Like I mentioned earlier, the characters don't have much depth. Mackenzie is the stereotypical "final girl" that's supposed to be sort of the Nancy Thompson character but edgier and more modern. Out of the human characters, she's the one you'll probably relate to over the others. She's a normal girl who starts sounding crazy [to the adults] when she talks about Horny stalking her and her friends. Who hasn't felt like they've been talking to a wall whenever we've spoken to our folks about things they should understand but seem as if they don't? It's a common theme we all understand. Plus she has a romantic interest who can't wait to get into her pants. I'm sure most girls reading this know how that goes. Still, while her friends drink and smoke pot to pass the day, she's pretty much grounded. You could care a bit for this character.
But the real star of the film is obviously the killer, Horny The Clown. And it's deservingly so. The clown looks awesome, with a really evil face and a speakerbox for a mouth. He also has this leather outfit on that's embedded with flames. A lot of work was put into the image of Horny and I dug it alot. He's also a one-liner junkie, as if he watched the later sequels of A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET and decided to be that Freddy instead of the early version of Freddy. While most of the dialogue misses the mark, I will say some of them made me chuckle at how dumb they were. The film picked up whenever Horny was in a scene, so he was a great asset to DRIVE THRU. Especially when he killed those white dudes who thought they were black in the beginning of the film. God they were so annoying. Horny gained a lot of my respect for taking their asses out.
The gore is pretty decent in DRIVE THRU as well. I won't lie - the special effects were pretty bad [this is a low budget film, of course]. But at least they tried to be creative here. We get a kill where Horny slices someone head in half and their tongue begins to wag, which was cool. The head-in-the-microwave death was a nice idea on paper, but the execution was pretty crappy and it made me laugh more than anything. Just looked really cartoonish. Then some dude gets literally sliced in half, which looked better than the microwave death. It wasn't a total waste. Just don't expect A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET level effects here.
The direction by Shane Kuhn and Brendan Cowles was decent. They paced the film well, except for that exposition scene, and the editing was tight. I do think the tension and suspense could have been a lot better. It's hard to anticipate getting scared when the killer has the ability to be anywhere and everywhere, knowing exactly where his victims will be. I did like how Mackenzie received clues as to the next victim through an Etch-N-Sketch, a Ouija Board, and other things. They worked very well visually. I think they were trying to make a ultimately memorable midnight movie, but Kuhn and Cowles doesn't ever achieve that. Still, I'd like to see the duo continue making silly films because this one was a good start.
The acting didn't exactly blow me away but it doesn't take anything from the film either. Leighton Meester, from Gossip Girl, does a decent job as Mackenzie. She could have been a bit stronger and a little more convincing, but I thought she did a nice job carrying much of the film whenever the Horny character wasn't around. She has a lot of charisma and is very hot. So I can't complain. Nicholas D'Agosto, from Heroes, was also pretty cool as Mackenzie's boyfriend, Fisher. He was a decent actor and I liked the guy. He was pretty believable in his delivery. Meester and D'Agosto also had great chemistry with each other, which made their relationship worth investing in. And Van De La Plante was pretty awesome as Horny the Clown. Extremely energetic and had great line delivery, even if the dialogue didn't always work. He's no Robert Englund [and who is?], but the attempt was evident and for the most part, I bought it.
We also have shorter roles with Meester's Gossip Girl co-star Penn Badgley as her pot-head friend, Van. We also have Larry Joe Campbell, from According To Jim, as a dumb cop. He was okay at the beginning but began to annoy me towards the end. Lola Glaudini, of the Sopranos, doesn't have enough to do but she was good with what she was given. And Morgan Spurlock, from SUPER SIZE ME, is pretty funny in his cameo as a fast food manager. Not a bad cast for the most part.
And the music is no big deal. Just generic metal and rock tunes. Pretty forgettable stuff but work for the film, I guess.
THINGS I'VE LEARNED WHILE PUTTING THE FINAL TOUCHES OF MY PLAN TO END RONALD McDONALD'S REIGN OF TERROR ONCE AND FOR ALL
- Some brunette slut wiped her mouth while saying, "Double chili cheese," after giving her wigga boyfriend some head. I didn't need to know what his seed tasted like, but thanks for sharing anyway.
- At some pool party, some horrible all-girl rock band "entertained" the crowd. From the way the lead singer sounded, she must have had some "double chili cheese" stuck in her throat. That wasn't a fleshed-colored microphone, sweetheart. Sigh...
- Mackenzie wonders what college will give her besides a stalker and a drug addiction. How about high blood pressure, stress, crabs, blue balls...? Oh, we're not talking about me. My bad!
- Some chick showed her new tramp stamp which was covered with hair. While I do find that a bit gross on a woman, I can at least hold on to something while I do her doggy style!
- Mackenzie is afraid she'll die a virgin. Um, virgins don't die in horror films. Someone didn't read the handbook...
- The Etch-N-Sketch read, "I Heart Bush." Now I know where mine went. Great, just another reason for Sophia Bush to extend that restraining order she has against me!
- "Gossip Guy here,
It seems Dan Humphrey was split in half over his reaction upon meeting Horny the Clown. No wonder Serena finds Nate more appealing. Dan can't seem to keep it together in a horror movie. What a pussy!
THE FINAL HOWL
DRIVE THRU is the kind of horror film you may want to rent for that Friday night where you just want to sit back and laugh. It's not gonna change the world or anything, but if you're looking for a cheesy good time with a killer clown and some shoddy CGI kills, DRIVE THRU is the film for you. And yes...I would like fries with that.