The last few years we've seen every genre amalgamation under the bloodied sun. Action and horror are routinely crossed into hybrid film entries while the dying art of torture porn bleeds into mainstream cinema. Supposed 'scary' movies are consistently being turned into PG-13 theatrical releases by corporate run production houses as indie directors and creators with tiny budgets turn out some of the best and most gratuitous horror flicks around. Zombies are now the mainstay on cable TV. This Drifter may not turn many heads but it's a surefire first entry that shows how Chris von Hoffman successfully transitioned from the short film circuit to making full length features.
With Drifter, two brothers do battle against a desert town full of cannibalistic psychos in this low budget homage. Featuring some great stylistic editing, creative camera work, and a gritty tone reminiscent of numerous other films that fall into this sub-genre, Drifter is a blast to the face that's more about fun than it is anything else. Weaving through a dusty, abandoned, mobile home neighborhood with pulsating rhythms and synthesizer sounds, this offbeat flick is a grime infused tributary that mixes The Hills Have Eyes, House of 1000 Corpses,and the familial dinner table themes of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre with various other movies about the evil horrors that lie in wait along the roadside. Heads are smashed. Lives are dispatched. Slop is eaten. And it's all quite tasty.
The director's obvious influences are written all over Drifter. The references to Texas Chainsaw are a bit over infused at times as are his nods to the careers of Tobe Hooper, Robert Rodriguez, and Quentin Tarantino. Considering this is his first release, I think it's almost okay to give him a pass for these minor indiscretions in the directorial department. Sometimes this happens on a first time out. As a full length debut, his Drifter hits story points that will resonate with horror fans and will have them calling out all the little nods and Easter eggs that are hidden within his creation.
|Give me all your donuts and I won't shoot. I said give me the donuts.|
As the story of Drifter unwinds, we move from the expansive desert landscape to the confines of darkness and imprisonment. What started out feeling like it was going to be a Mad Max post apocalyptic, shoot 'em up action thriller becomes a straight up, stylized, quick cut flesh fest that should at least satisfy the core audience that eats this stuff up. Nope, it's not highly original and it's not the second coming of gross out cannibal films. But it's just good enough to be entertaining and just sick enough to rouse this mediocre review from me.