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Critic Reviews for Drifter
Viewers would be far better off rewatching a Mad Max or Rob Zombie movie, or any episode of The Walking Dead, than paying hard-earned money to see Drifter.
There's a level of wild B-movie ambition here that's preferable to the usual blandly violent, overly serious genre fare. If nothing else, Von Hoffman clearly has a voice - even if his accents are imitations.
A cannibal thriller that runs on fumes, stuck navigating an all-too familiar genre roadmap.
Maybe the first dull post-apocalyptic thriller featuring guns, gore, cannibals and a finger-licking temptress.
It's a dry bite of cannibalistic terror in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, and a film that feels like it lasts for three years, despite kinetic plot elements.
Audience Reviews for Drifter
Post-apocalyptic films are a dime a dozen aren't they? There's obviously not as many as zombie films. Though, to be fair, sometimes the zombie and post-apocalyptic genre go hand in hand, like in the Walking Dead as an example. What I mean by post-apocalyptic is that Mad Max style where everything has gone to shit and now everyone fends for themselves. Things like law, order, decency and morality all go out in the window in this volatile dog-eat-dog world. Mad Max obviously wasn't the first film to embrace this darker world, A Boy and His Dog (the movie) predated it by four years and the story it was based on by ten years. But the aesthetic for Mad Max has, pretty much, been the template for every film in this genre to follow. From the DIY costuming, to the desert landscapes and psychopathic, unhinged characters have been influential for ages and will continue to be influential for years to come. Mad Max is a special franchise chock-full of incredible action. I don't wanna say that this movie follows a 'simpler' approach, since it does have the same psychopathic characters only looking out for themselves and the film is shot in the more deserted areas of Southern California. What I mean by that is that the story is smaller in scale. Focusing on two brothers who are en-route to get revenge on the man who killed their father. While on their journey, however, they make their way into a, seemingly, deserted town where they are descended upon by cannibals. Simple and to the point. So that's why I have to question myself as to how a film with such a concept, even if it might not be super unique, could be so utterly and fucking boring. First of all, this is a movie that's just very ugly. It's just not pleasant to look at or watch. But I'm not saying that as a complain. I think that, quite frankly, not many post-apocalyptic movie are as bleak as this movie is. Having said that, I do think that the fact the film revels in its ugliness is gonna be very off-putting to some people. So I'm just giving y'all a heads up. The problem I haven't isn't with the visual style the film chose to employ. The main issue I have is that this is the film equivalent of a try-hard. Now, to be fair, I don't mean to suggest that Chris Von Hoffman is an untalented director. But he's trying way too damn hard to make his film clever and fresh in all the wrong ways. In my opinion, it just ends up feeling like a cheap imitation instead of a love letter and deconstruction of genre movies, as Hoffman himself stated. I mean, at least Hoffman tried, but it seems that everything he tried fell flat on its fucking arse. For a movie that runs barely 83-some odd minutes, the pacing for this is just absolutely fucking terrible. Nothing literally happens for the first 40 or so minutes, which is when Miles and Dom find themselves in Doyle, the seemingly abandoned town. Dom needs to take care of Miles, who keeps getting himself into situations where he's getting his ass beat. One of these beatings led them to Doyle to, hopefully, find a doctor. There they meet Vijah, who ends up helping them. And, in reality, when all is said and done, Vijah is the only likable character in the entire film. Dom's a bit of an asshole and Miles is kind of an useless dumbass who does nothing, so it makes caring for them and their struggles very difficult. Not to mention that, honestly, the writing isn't that good. The cannibals are unlikable, but they're unlikable because they feel like a parody of the unhinged psychopaths you'd see in other films of this ilk. Sasha dresses like a little girl, Latos is a parody of a stereotypical psycho and Doyle himself is like if the Joker, the Riddler and Pee-Wee Herman all rolled into one. They're really kind of a joke and, maybe, the worst part of the entire film. The guy who plays Doyle is decent enough, but the other two are not particularly good. Aria Emory, who plays Miles, isn't that good either. I realize that the character is supposed to be a little slow, but his delivery was awful in spite of that. The film, honestly, doesn't have a lot of conventional dialogue. And, again, that was another creative choice that backfired. It was one of those choices that were meant to be seen as 'less is more' and in this case it's less is less. I get wanting to be a little more subdued, in certain scenes at least, since Latos and Sasha are some loud assholes, but that lack of dialogue and the quiet delivery, in the case of Vijah and Doyle, feels completely at odds with the rest of the film. It's like everything else was so lurid, let's hold back on the dialogue so we can show that we can use restraint if we need to. Again, it just fell completely flat. This really is the very definition of style over substance, because this movie is 80+ minutes long, but it's really only got material for maybe half that. As I have mentioned, the first 40 minutes are absolute hell to get through and it's not like everything after that is any great shakes either, it's just that if the first half moves at a turtle's pace, then the second half moves as fast as a 60-year-old man with arthritic knees. There's just a lot of dead time here and the movie, not realizing its own limitations, just keeps stretching scenes out that probably should have ended considerably earlier. This is all just a self-indulgent exercise on the part of Mr. Hoffman. And, of course, you could say that directing your own script might lead to that, but I feel that other directors who do this, and are in command of their abilities much more than Mr. Hoffman, tend to stay away from making the mistakes this guy did. The movie, instead of hiding its own weaknesses, chooses to put them on full blast, for the entire world to see and, the thing is, that Hoffman is probably satisfied with the end result. Dude, this really should have been a short film, there's not enough material to justify it go more than 80 minutes. Shame too, because the film, in spite of it being ugly, is well-shot and some of the soundtrack is really cool. But everything other than that is just one misstep after another after another. Hell, Miles comes across looking like the biggest asshole in that he ends up killing Vijah, the bullet passing through her and hitting Doyle. Vijah is literally the only person who helps him. Hell, she's the reason he was able to kill Doyle in the first place and his thanks is to kill her to get to Doyle. What in the actual fuck? There was no reason for this whatsoever and, again, it drives home the fact that our lead characters, both brothers, are insufferable asshole who deserved every bit of suffering they got. The villains were annoying because their characterizations felt forced and unnatural. The dialogue, that is there, isn't very good. The only thing is enjoyed about this is the score/soundtrack and the fact it was well-shot. Everything else about this is just bad. Perhaps not unconscionably bad, but bad nonetheless. I was actually considering giving this 2 stars, but I find that I liked this movie less than I originally did when I finished it. Thankfully, I came to my senses and gave this the lower score that it, very rightfully, deserves.
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