Over the past several years, I have found myself gravitating toward post-apocalyptic movies and books, more so than I ever have before. I hope this act is not prophetic in some way, as I’m really not ready to scavenge a wasteland for food or try to rebuild civilization with mutants. Regardless, I really enjoy PA films that are well made and make you think.
DRIFTER isn’t necessarily cerebral, and honestly, it’s not overtly original. But I will say it is a post-apocalyptic film with bite. And although it’s not perfect, this movie is still a lot of fun.
If you are not familiar with DRIFTER, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of XLrator Media:
A pair of outlaw brothers seek temporary refuge in a desolate town inhabited by a small family of psychotic cannibalistic lunatics.
Pretty much anything involving cannibals will grab my attention pretty quick. I am fascinated by them (in a healthy way…not a psychotic one…I promise!) for some reason, and I love seeing the different variations that are brought to screen. As such, this aspect made DRIFTER a must-see for me.
The film is shot well and looks good from a production standpoint. The cinematography does a great job of capturing the isolated feel of the desert and telling the story at the same time.
Likewise, the acting in DRIFTER is pretty good, with talented Aria Emory portraying the main character, Miles; Emory does a great and believable job in his role. He is joined by Drew Harwood, another capable actor who also does a fine job. The rest of the cast is decent, however nobody really gives a breakout performance.
But the film has several detractors that make it a head-scratching experience. I found certain characters, particularly Doyle’s henchman, to be extremely annoying. They are the standard, stereotypical wasteland mutant/inbred family/anything cannibal fare, and they almost overshadow the plot because of how painfully formulaic they are. Spastic brute, quiet idiot, and Harley Quinn-wannabe…ugh.
The biggest flaw that prevents the film from being an instant classic is the lack of originality; it appears to draw on several iconic movies, such as MAD MAX, THE HILLS HAVE EYES, and THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. This wouldn’t be such a big issue, however the particular influences here are very specific to those franchises, which in turn makes DRIFTER look like it is plagiarizing. For example, everybody remembers the classic dinner table scene in THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2, right? DRIFTER offers up one that looks very similar. The scene doesn’t directly copy it, but avid horror fans will catch the familiarity quickly.
Even so, DRIFTER is still entertaining, and I do recommend giving it a look. Despite the appearance of a relationship with previous genre films, the movie is intriguing and keeps the viewer interested through its entirety. I never once felt like it lagged or bored me, so that is a definite positive. If you can look past the obvious references to other films, you might enjoy this one.
DRIFTER will be available on DVD and VOD tomorrow, February 28, 2017.