Drifter (2016)

Paying homage to films it’ll never get close to.

Dir. Chris von Hoffmann

Runtime: 86 minutes

Rating: 18

Starring: Aria Emory, Drew Harwood, Monique Rosario

There aren’t many films that I have to turn off half-way through, but this film had me do that at least twice. It took me a three attempts to actually get through all 86 minutes of this truly bad film the first time I watched it. The title of the film actually sums it up well “Drifter” – in the sense that it was a nutty turd that you’ve just found floating in a public toilet.

Summary

Two criminal brothers, Miles and Dominic, are on a mission to avenge their father and kill the person who murdered him. On their journey they rob a shop and and one of the brothers gets shot, but that’s not their biggest struggle as the world seems to be a post-apocalyptic ruin. As they journey onward they end up in the wrong town; a back-water crap-hole where the locals are redneck psychotic cannibals. Things were already bad for the brothers, but it’s about to get a whole load worse for them.


… or… here’s a summary in 180 characters or less…

Brothers Miles and Dominic have to devise a plan to escape, or end up dinner for the locals in a post-apocalyptic town.


So then, let’s dissect this then:

The plot is weak – it’s been done before many a time. The only twist comes right at the end of the film, when you’ll have lost interest or probably already worked it out.

The acting is annoying; I didn’t care for anybody in this and would have welcomed a H-bomb destroying them all to make the film shorter. There is no character development; it just is as it is. Stupid choices are made constantly – both in front and behind the camera.

The pace is slower than a sloth taking it easy on a lazy Sunday. When there is some pace, the film feels unbalanced, painfully forced, and laborious. The longer you watch this film, the slower it gets and the harder it is to watch. A bit of an unusual feat in achieving this – bravo

With weak and undeveloped writing, things happen in the story for no reason at all. There are times when no motivation or explanation is offered for situations that develop, and it just makes things confusing. If somebody told me that the writers were swapped half way through the creation of this film I’d believe them. The second half of the film felt like it had been conceived by somebody who hadn’t worked on the first part of the film, maybe to inject pace or a new direction. Instead of going forwards the new writers found the reverse switch and decided to go with it.

The music and sound sometimes deafens the narrative, you might think this is a good thing based on the points I’ve made already but it just helps the headache I was developing to grow further. With the sound, somebody tried to be clever and deliver some intensity and maybe psychology via the score – but I’m afraid it didn’t work and just ends up being annoying.

The camera work was slightly annoying and there were a lot of tilted shots. It was a pity because there were occasionally some nice bits of scenery being offered. While I’m on a technical thing like the camera work, let me tell you that effects wise there isn’t anything to write home about. There is plenty of bloodshed and gore, but it’s not done very authentically or intelligently and at times seems to be just done as a scare effect – or done because it can be done.

There are constant nods and homages to other films, which are similar in style but a billion times better than this. There are points in this where scenes are practically lifted from a range of cult classics, including: “Mad Max” (1979), “From Dusk till Dawn” (1996), “The Hills Have Eyes” (1977), “House of 1000 Corpses” (2003), “The Devils Rejects” (2005), and “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (1974). Do yourself a favour, watch one of those instead!!!

When I first watched this film in 2018 it didn’t do anything for me, it felt like a failed opportunity that was trying to rip of other films to garner some support to make it an underground cult film. I couldn’t sit through it one sitting, not because it was too extreme for me, it was more that he film was extremely bad and strangely hypnotic enough to send me to sleep. Having re-watched the film in 2021 it actually angers me now. I generally like to to give films more than one chance and having done that now for this, I am glad that I will never have to watch it again. This is probably one of those times that I can say that “I suffered this film so you don’t have to“. Before sitting down to re-watch this I read my review and wondered to myself if I was perhaps being too harsh on it – I’m no film maker after all so perhaps I should be nicer. That re-watch though confirmed that I wasn’t being too harsh and that this really isn’t a great way to pass 86 minutes of my life.

In my 2018 review I gave this 2 out of 10 because I was feeling generous. Despite being angrier about the film in 2021 I’m sticking to the 2 out of 10 rather than demoting it.

⭐⭐ (2/10)

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