Starring: Leighton Meester, Nicholas D’Agosto, Melora Hardin, Larry Joe Campbell, Lola Glaudini
Written & Directed By: Brendan Cowles, Shane Kuhn
Drive Thru is a teen horror film that has elements of It and A Nightmare On Elm Street and twists them to give us a wildly funny film. It uses a psychotic clown to not only give us an insane murderer, but an evil fast food representative. The film plays on this through one of the taglines, “Fast Food Kills“. Overall, the film has been overlooked and underappreciated, which is too bad since it has some highly entertaining kill scenes and some very funny dialogue.
Mackenzie (Meester) has a party for graduation when her parents are out. Mackenzie, her boyfriend, Fisher (D’Agosto), and a few of her friends find a Ouiji board. They jokingly ask it what their future holds. The board takes on a life of its’ own and spells out something that they are at first unsure of what it means. Then they realize it was the license plate number of a group of teens that were murdered in a Hella Burger parking lot. They agree never to tell anyone since they will either be labeled crazy or suspected for having something to do with the murder.
However, the attacks don’t stop there. Mackenzie is chased around with a butcher knife in school with someone in a Horny the clown costume of Hella Burger. She manages to get out and reports this to the police. They don’t believe her and continue with their investigation on their own terms rather than based on what Mackenzie knows. It is clear that the police have their own agenda and would rather prove themselves right than listen to the victims. As more are attacked it is clear that it isn’t a random killing spree. There is some pattern that they can’t see and it may not even be because of the teens themselves. Strangely enough it seems that all of the kids who have been killed have parents who were all friends in high school. It turns out they have a deep dark secret that has been covered up for years and is now coming back to haunt them through the bloodshed of their children.
The cast was excellent and really added a lot to the movie. Leighton Meester gave us a teenager with a lot of attitude, spunk, independence, and someone who had a lot of fight in her. She displayed a strong sense of self and someone who wasn’t going to give up. After seeing Remember the Daze where she gave one of the only really good performances and now gives this one such a strong sense, I have gained respect for her. She does have even further potential and I would like to see that in worthy material, outside of Gossip Girl for starters. It was also great seeing Melora Hardin in this which differed from her character on The Office. A horror film was the perfect change of scenery and she did well with every minute of it. Larry Joe Campbell of According to Jim fame was pretty funny as the easily outsmarted cop.
Drive Thru even has a political voice, an anti-republican specifically. Mackenzie claims her worst nightmare is to die old, ugly, and republican. One of the victims that gets brutally killed is a blond haired girl with a ‘I love Bush’ belly shirt. The politics of the police are even mocked. They are overall pretty worthless. They don’t listen to truth and really just do whatever they want and think will make them look good in the end. Even when they try to save the day and think they do, they haven’t even scratched the surface of the horror that is about to escalate to a whole new level.
The clown himself was equally insane and hilarious. Like I mentioned earlier in my review, the backstory is very similar to A Nightmare on Elm Street. In both cases the parents killed the man who becomes a murderer and to get his revenge, he goes on a murdering spree of all of the children of those parents. The main difference is that Horny the Clown became a villain only because of the parents. He was a victim in the beginning, but is completely transformed. Attacking the children at first doesn’t make much sense, but the theme of taking youth and attacking confidence and vulnerability is used to color the villain and victims in the story.
Drive Thru has some great kill scenes with a lot of blood and guts. What really makes it notable though is that the deaths themselves are pretty creative. It has a slightly campy feel to it, but mostly because it uses comedy every step of the way, which makes the bloodshed all the more entertaining and satisfying. There is one scene where a head is completely detached from an explosion in a microwave. A victim’s face is completely decapitated to the point where the flesh peels followed by the question, “Would you like fries with that?” Almost as rich as when he remarks to one of his bloody victims, “You got a lot of guts kid”. The comedy is full of puns and thrives on this, making it cheesy good fun with top notch acting and priceless dialogue.