How many times have you walked into fast food chains thinking: “This shit’ll kill me.” You know that the burger won’t literally sauté you like an onion, but what about those sinister mascots? The clown in the striped jumpsuit (quite reminiscent of a criminal’s) pied-piping kids to the Golden Arches or the polythene King smirking, silently slipping his way into your home unbeknownst to you. It’s the perfect foundation to any slasher flick.
Writer-director duo Brendan Cowles and Shane Kuhn (Twitch) slather all of the essential condiments (albeit lacking a few ingredients) for a great horror movie in their 2007 horror-comedy Drive Thru. There’s sex, drugs, an irrelevant Ouija board scene and one-liners such as “Fast food kills, Fucker” or the witty “Over Five-billion Killed.”
From the moment Drive Thru began—four delinquents passing a joint while cruising the streets of Blanca Carne trying to cure their munchies—I knew that it was intended to be not just a movie to frighten its audience, but a social commentary on America’s increasing obesity due to our enormous intake of fast-food cuisine woven with the up-rise of white gangs in residential neighborhoods.
Sarcasm aside…Subsequent to the brutal prologue of said teens scouting a cure for their empty, pot-filled pot-bellies (including one self-proclaimed “wigger’s” head being doused in the fryer), the film follows sassy-liberal Mackenzie Carpenter (Gossip Girl’s Leighton Meester): a 17-year-old high school senior whose friends are being slain one-by-one and Mackenzie is next on the menu.
With her 18th birthday just fingertips away, she too is being chased and taunted by the deviant clown named Horny from Hella-Burger, sending her messages via 70s kitsch toys. As the events unfold, Mackenzie begins to piece the puzzle, dusting off the the inglorious skeletons in the closet are laying them out to dry.
After watching the trailer, one cold see that the movie sprouts with potential to be scary: A harrowing demon-clown donning a Mighty Morphin’ Power Ranger’s suit with a drive-thru voice box for a mouth, offing teens and wreaking havoc in Orange County. But what makes a slasher film is the slashing, yet the executions—the pickles on the sandwich of horror movies—were missing.
When it was a character’s time to kick it, he was slashed and forgotten. There was no major conflict, no struggle and definitely no empathy. I didn’t want to cry when one of the supporting characters was axed, but I felt jipped when the death lasted no longer than it took Horny to muffle, “Employee of the Month's 'bout to fuck you up!” There was no element of surprise. It was obvious how the teen would be diced because the directors spent more time foreshadowing than having their actors put up a fight. To boot, the music was just ridiculous. Just because some people associate slashers with the goth crowd doesn’t mean that terminating a slew of teens gives the O.K. to play heavy metal on level 11.
Other than a few mistakes, which always makes good for a budding cult classic, the film was surprisingly likeable. (When watching the ending, please notice that the Horny the Clown doll is actually a Woody the Cowboy doll in a freckled flying suit from the Disney-Pixar franchise Toy Story.) We have dashes of the past for a smidge of character development thus unraveling the killer’s motif. Plus, documenter Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) makes an ironic cameo as a Robbie the Hella-Burger Manager and is actually funny.
Drive Thru reeks of classic horror films like Child’s Play, making you salivate, crave for sequels (Drive Thru 2: The Nightmare Is Just Beginning due out in late 2010, according to IMDb.com) and think only in puns. Drive Thru gets two thumbs up…SUPERSIZED!
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