Drive-Thru (2009)

Rating: D

Dir: Brendan Cowles and Shane Kuhn
Star: Leighton Meester, Nicholas D’Agosto, Melora Hardin, Lola Glaudini

Christ, is this what passes for a horror film these days? I remember the days of the video boom, when it seemed any dire crap would get a cover with an axe on it and find its way to the shelves somehow. But I suspect even Colorbox would have turned up their nose at this, which Lions Gate – yes, the same people who buried Midnight Meat Train – deemed worth of distribution. With the minor exception of heroine McKenzie (Meeser), the characters here are as appalling a collection of stereotypes as you can imagine, and the allegedly-‘spoof’ nature isn’t a Get Out of Jail card to parade them. As a spoof, this makes the [Word] Movie series look like the output of Wilde or Coward: about the only moment of note is seeing Morgan Spurlock, the creator of Super Size Me, in a cameo as the manager of the Hella-burger fast-food store. That establishment is at the center of proceedings, since the Hella-burger mascot, Horny the Clown [oh, hold my aching sides], is running amok in the town of Blanco Carne [Shoot me. Shoot me now], killing the local teens off in grisly ways.

McKenzie, despite quickly losing her underage virginity in a surprisingly-chaste scene, is very clearly The Final Girl, despite being pretty sour and somewhat hard to like – nowhere near as bad as the other teens, admittedly, despite being just as clichéd. It’s to her that Horny addresses his little messages, foreshadowing who’ll be next, if only she can decode them in time. While there’s no denying Clowns Are Creepy, unless you have a specific phobia, they need to do a sight more than Horny, as far as generating terror goes; though some of the kills are decent, there’s no impact from them beyond a momentary surge of adrenalin. The ‘revelation’ about Horny’s identity is neither startling nor interesting, and the film limps towards its inevitable, sequel-friendly conclusion. We can only hope the market speaks on that topic. What you’re left with here is nothing which you haven’t seen a million times before, and largely done better too.