Lionsgate // 2007 // 91 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // May 29th, 2007
Hungry for a killer meal?
How to inject creativity into a genre that has long been sapped of innovation? Give a trash-talking clown mascot from a fast food restaurant an axe and let him run wild!
Mackenzie Carpenter (Leighton Meester) isn't terribly fond of her uneventful Orange County life. She's got her burgeoning journalism career in front of her and a dedicated boyfriend who's so horny he pees hormones. But things are about to get a lot crazier when a string of grisly murders break out and Mackenzie and her friends appear to be the target of the lunatic.
To up the weirdness, the perpetrator is a whack-job named Horny the Clown, the personification of the Hella-Burger fast food chain mascot and his murder methods are about as insane as you would expect. The ingredients of a cult comedy-horror hit are all in place...how does the finished product taste?
Quote good actually. Drive-Thru is funny, gory and nuts and I'll recommend it right now as a bodacious Friday late-night B-movie. Co-directors and writers Shane Kuhn and Brendan Cowles know what works for low-budget slasher feature, and are wise enough to inject their production with a hefty helping of humor and self-deprecation. These guys know that they're making a fun horror flick, and the film is void of tedious pretenses.
The humor is actually funny in a purposeful, clever way, not in the usual inadvertent this-sucks-so-bad-I-can't-help-but-laugh-at-these-pitiful-schmucks way. The Hella-Burger restaurant mythology (if you can call it a mythology) is very funny. It's the mirror version of McDonald's -- the porn-ish commercials for the restaurant are hilarious -- and the sinister Horny the Clown is Bizarro Ronald. He's a clown but he's always wearing a morbid grin, and when you add a bloody axe to the mix and the garbled voice box of a crappy drive-thru, that, my friends is iconic slasher gold. Thankfully, the directors waste little time in unleashing their creation in the film, as he strikes quick and fast against a pair of obnoxious white boy gangstas and the kills continue thereafter. There isn't a lot of down time between the gore and the brisk pacing is a big plus. Kills are interesting and over-the-top, ranging from face sloughing off from a headfirst dip into frying oil to a forced lobotomy to my favorite, an intimate encounter with a microwave. Lots of blood and sinew, executed surprisingly well (aside from spotty CGI-based kills), perpetrated in a tongue-and-cheek manner.
We all know decent gore effects does not an adequate use of 90 minutes make, and thankfully there filler material is entertaining enough to keep the ship humming along. Carpenter is a charismatic, attractive lead and her boyfriend (played by Nicholas D'Agosto) shares the screen with matching energy. Plus, the writing is sharp enough to give these kids something worthwhile to deliver. Look, we're not talking Macbeth here, but when you're dealing in the realm of direct-to-video teen horror movies, any dialogue that doesn't make you want to drive a tent stake through your cornea deserves props.
The story holding it all together is boilerplate -- a typical revenge tale -- and during the big slice of exposition at the beginning of the third act, the flick takes itself too seriously, but the big reveal is handled well. As for the last scene...it's a shame that Kuhn and Colmes didn't take that one final step to subvert the genre even more.
Technically, the DVD holds up well, but a lack of extras is a big missed opportunity. The 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is clean and the 5.1 audio mix is strong. It's a good-looking, good-sounding production, but too threadbare to stand out as noteworthy release.
I'm digging Drive Thru and if you're into horror comedies that are actually funny I think you'll enjoy it as well.
The bench would like fires with that.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 91 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Rated R