Drifter (NR)

Horror 86 min. February 24, 2017
By Luke Y. Thompson
So many filmmakers borrow from the Mad Max sequels that it's refreshing to see a movie cribbing from the original, with its mostly desert setting that still just barely resembles functional society. Into Drifter's take on this environment come the brothers Pierce: rude, belligerent jerk Dominic (Drew Harwood) and taciturn, barely audible Miles (co-screenwriter Aria Emory). Miles gets a hole shot through his hand when he ineptly tries to rob a guy; Dominic tries to find help, and they wind up in a trailer park from hell where everyone's trying to be Negan from The Walking Dead. Think baseball bats to heads while friends are forced to watch.

The location is the real star: Co-writer/director Chris von Hoffmann milks the decaying wood- and debris-strewn yards of this barely habitable settlement for all they're worth, which is why it's a shame all the script offers is a slow buildup to a Texas Chainsaw Massacre homage that's been done to death by other imitators already. Perhaps the derivativeness wouldn't be so bad if we liked the heroes, but Dominic's behavior is less Max Rockatansky and more like the real-life Mel Gibson without the charisma, while Miles' defiance just comes off as whiny. So if they risk meeting their demise at the hands of a redheaded dandy in a bow tie ... who cares? The world von Hoffmann has created intrigues, but he seems to have stuck us watching the most annoying characters in it.
Chris von Hoffmann Aria Emory, Drew Harwood, Monique Rosario, James McCabe, Anthony Ficco Chris von Hoffmann XLrator Media

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