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 clich├ęd. 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.