Ya know, when you become a big “hot shot” like myself, you often get emails encouraging you to check out movies you might not have heard of and just roll the dice on reviewing them, based on the description. Sometimes, this results in watching complete dogshit that make you regret ever registering an email address in the first place. Other times, you are rewarded by seeing a movie you might not have otherwise checked out and it becomes your all-time favorite movie. In the case of Drifter, I got something somewhere in between, as it’s a very kinetic and driving post-apocalyptic cannibal movie that, ultimately, it still just a cannibal movie.
Hey, ya know what? This movie looked pretty good! Great job on the “Post-Apocalyptic Instagram Filter” vibe of the whole thing.
Drifter starts by throwing you right into the middle of the action as you see a convenience store hold-up gone wrong. The film follows the perpetrators of the theft, brothers Miles (Aria Emory) and Dominic (Drew Harwood), who attempt to survive life after some sort of apocalyptic event. When an injury leaves Miles in desperate need of medical care, the brothers make their way a nearby community where Vijah (Monique Rosario) offers them help. Vijah does her best to assist them, yes, but a chance romantic encounter reveals the ruler of this small community has a lot more sway over what happens when you’re on his turf, resulting in all hell breaking loose.
At least we can rests easier knowing there will be plenty of Manic Panic in the not-too-distant future.
Neither cannibal movies nor post-apocalyptic movies are too much of my “thing,” so I was already on the defense about how Drifter would play out. I never ended up loving it, but the entire experience kept me guessing. Its biggest strength is its unpredictability, not only for the subgenres it belongs to but also when compared to virtually any other narrative where you can predict what will happen to the heroes. The film’s kinetic energy makes you question which direction it will take you, much like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. On the one hand, being compared to TCSM would make most filmmakers feel great, but in the case of Drifter, it’s a case of wearing its influences too proudly on its sleeves. From a cavalcade of kooky characters to a typical “wacky dinner sequence,” Drifter borrows too many pages from a classic. Granted, if you’re gonna borrow, you should borrow from the best, so I’m glad the filmmakers borrow from that film instead of something like Green Inferno. If cannibal flicks are your thing, Drifter brings a breath of fresh air into a suffocating genre, but other than some of its unpredictable nature, it doesn’t stray too far from the path of other successful genre pictures.
Wolfman Moon Scale